Bayern Munich kept up the pressure on Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin, thanks to Javi Martinez's headed goal.
Bayern Munich 1-0 Hertha Berlin
Goal: 1-0 Martinez (62')
Red card: Rekik (84')
Davie Selke thought he had given Hertha the lead after ten minutes, but Joshua Kimmich sprung the offside trap with surgical precision. The Bayern and Germany full-back then delivered Bayern's first shot of the game, missing the far post only by a matter of inches. Soon after, Salomon Kalou got the pulse rates racing inside the Bayern penalty area as Hertha continued to seek out chances, but Jerome Boateng got in behind Manuel Neuer to sweep up the danger. Hertha kept hounding out their opponents, leaving a pensive look on Niko Kovac's face as the half-time whistle sounded without his side having been able to pose a threat at the Allianz Arena.
Kovac's response was to introduce Thiago Alcantara for Leon Goretzka and he was at the source of a move which culminated in Kimmich – Bayern's hitherto most dangerous player – having a header deflect wide. Kimmich crucially diverted a goalbound Selke shot wide for a corner as he set the tone at both ends of the field. The record champions had an unlikely outlet to thank for their lead on the hour mark as Martinez rose to meet James Rodriguez's corner and head inside the far post for his first goal of the season, and seventh in the Bundesliga all told. It was worth all three points for Kovac's men, but the joy of victory was tempered somewhat by the sight of Kingsley Coman limping off injured after less than ten minutes on the field, while Hertha's day also got worse when Karim Rekik was sent off late on.
- Bayern have taken 24 points from a possible 33 at home so far this season (W7, D3, L1).
- Niko Kovac took charge of his 100th Bundesliga game, his 23rd for Bayern after 77 for Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Franck Ribery started his first game of 2019. His last start came before Christmas, when he scored two in a 3-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
- Javier Martinez scored his first goal of the season, after going 24 games without scoring.
- Bayern kept their first clean sheet of 2019.
Watch: Serge Gnabry on Bayern's title aspirations with 11 games still to play
Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Boateng, Alaba – Martinez – Gnabry, Goretzka (Thiago 46'), James, Ribery (Coman 58', Müller 67') – Lewandowski
Unused subs: Ulreich, Rafinha, Davies, Sanches
Out: Hummels (cold), Tolisso (knee), Robben (thigh),
Coach: Niko Kovac
Hertha: Jarstein – Stark, Lustenberger (c), Rekik – Lazaro, Grujic, Maier (Dardai 79'), Mittelstädt – Duda – Selke, Kalou (Jastrzembski 79')
Unused subs: Kraft, Skjelbred, Darida, Klünter, Baak
Out: Kade (ankle), Ibisevic (suspended), Luckassen (ankle), Plattenhardt (groin), Torunarigha (Achilles), Leckie, Dilrosun (match fitness), Pekarik (calf)
Coach: Pal Dardai
James Rodriguez: 10 things about the Bayern Munich star
From Medellin, through Monaco and Madrid to Munich, here's James Rodriguez's path to stardom.
James, Tolisso and Davies travel to Qatar
Bayern are heading to their winter training camp with a full squad in tow.
Be Whoever You Want
Everyone has their own personal Bundesliga hero. Who's yours?