bundesliga

Ribery the matchwinner as Bayern close on Dortmund with win over Leipzig

Franck Ribery was Bayern Munich's late matchwinner as the Bundesliga champions defeated RB Leipzig 1-0 on Wednesday to cut Borussia Dortmund's lead at the top of the table to six points.

Bayern Munich 1-0 RB Leipzig

Goals: 1-0 Ribery (83')

With just a place and two points between them at kick-off, there is no surprise the opening exchanges were parries rather than punches. Bayern, though, were looking to make the most of Borussia Dortmund's surprise stumble, and very nearly delivered the first telling blow — Peter Gulacsi proved equal to Robert Lewandowski in their one-on-one encounter, touching the Poland international's shot onto a post before seeing the ball spring across his goal and then to safety. Serge Gnabry's injury-enforced withdrawal before the half-hour mark upset the hosts' rhythm and heralded Leipzig stepping up their tempo. Bruma had shooting opportunities while Dayot Upamecano sent a header pinging off Manuel Neuer's crossbar.

A Timo Werner half-volley raised Bayern pulses shortly after the break as Ralf Rangnick's men looked the more likely to break the deadlock. But it was Niko Kovac's side who came closest. A cleaner connection to a David Alaba cross by Thomas Müller might have done it; Niklas Süle produced a crisp shot when Gulasci spilled a cross his way, but the centre-back's effort lacked precision. Gulasci produced the save of the game — and surely one of the season — as he somehow pawed away Joshua Kimmich's point-blank header. The Hungary international goalkeeper was equally brilliant in keeping out Renato Sanches, but when Upamecano miscued his attempted clearance of the loose ball, Ribery pounced to the delight of the Allianz Arena and — no doubt — groans in Dortmund. Stefan Ilsanker and Sanches were dismissed in added time as tempers frayed, a sign of just how much the result meant to both sides.

Franck Ribery's second league goal of the season - and the month - saw Bayern home. - Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Match stats

  • Bayern have not lost their last competitive fixture of the year since 1987, a run of 31 matches, winning 25.
  • Bayern have won all three home matches they have played against Leipzig since the visitors were promoted to the Bundesliga in 2016.
  • Visiting boss Rangnick has won none of his last nine Bundesliga matches against Bayern.
  • Leipzig are unbeaten at home this season. On the road, though, they have claimed only eight points from eight games, and have netted only seven times.
  • Werner has scored 10 league goals this season - all in braces! Only one of those has come away from home, and he's still never scored in Munich against Bayern.
  • Poulsen made his 200th competitive appearance for Leipzig.

Line-ups

Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Goretzka, Thiago – Gnabry (Ribery 28'), Müller (Martinez 90'), Coman (Sanches 60') – Lewandowski
Unused subs: Ulreich, Wagner, Rafinha, Mai
Out: James (knee), Robben (thigh), Tolisso (knee), Boateng (back)
Coach: Niko Kovac

Leipzig: Gulacsi – Klostermann, Konate, Upamecano, Halstenberg - Demme (c), Kampl - Laimer (Cunha 87'), Bruma (Ilsanker 81') - Poulsen (Augustin 88'), Werner
Unused subs: Müller, Orban, Mukiele, Majetschak
Out: Adams (ineligible), Forsberg (groin), Sabitzer (suspended)
Coach: Ralf Rangnick

Click here for Bayern vs. Leipzig - as it happened!