Robert Lewandowski became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in nine consecutive games to start a season as Bayern Munich returned to winning ways against Union Berlin.
Bayern Munich 2-1 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Pavard (13'), 2-0 Lewandowski (53'), 2-1 Polter (pen. 56')
Bayern hadn't won in two Bundesliga matches, but made a confident start to take a first-half lead at the Allianz Arena. Joshua Kimmich's free-kick was only half punched clear by Union goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz, with Benjamin Pavard taking the loose ball on the half volley and driving home with real panache from the edge of the area. Lewandowski couldn't quite climb high enough to make the desired connection with a fine Kingsley Coman cross as Bayern came again, before Thomas Müller warmed the palms of Gikiewicz. Philippe Coutinho's deflected strike brought another routine save out of the Union custodian late in the first half, but not before Marcus Ingvartsen had fired a warning shot of his own narrowly past Manuel Neuer's upright.
Union emerged from the half-time break with renewed purpose as Christopher Lenz tested Neuer and Felix Kroos headed wide. Bayern's play was uncharacteristically slow, but a somewhat fortuitous second goal put the record champions firmly back on course. Alphonso Davies injected pace into proceedings with a driving left-wing run and pass for Lewandowski. The Pole got a bit lucky as a deflection sent him one-on-one but made no mistake with his finish, in the process breaking Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's record for goals in successive matches at the start of a season. Neuer got down brilliantly to deny Sebastian Andersson from the penalty spot moments later, before Lewandowski had an effort - what would have been his 20th in all competitions in 2019/20 - ruled out for offside. Sebastian Polter did beat Neuer from the spot late on, but it was Bayern who went closest to scoring late on through Leon Goretzka as the record champions replaced Borussia Mönchengladbach at the top of the standings.
Watch: Lewandowski: "It's special to break the record"
- Lewandowski is the first Bayern player to score at least once in 13 competitive matches in a row.
- Union are the 25th different Bundesliga team against whom Lewandowski has found the net.
- Neuer made his 350th competitive appearance for Bayern, and his ninth career penalty save.
- Pavard scored for the second time in the Bundesliga as a Bayern player, with only his third effort on goal.
- Davies made his first Bundesliga start.
- Polter scored Union's first ever goal against Bayern.
Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Pavard, Boateng, Davies – Thiago – Coman (Gnabry 65'), Müller, Coutinho (Goretzka 86'), Perisic (Tolisso 76') – Lewandowski
Unused subs: Ulreich, Cuisance, Alaba, Mai
Out: Arp (fractured wrist), Hernandez (ankle), Süle (torn ACL), Martinez (thigh)
Coach: Niko Kovac
Union: Gikiewicz – Trimmel (c), Friedrich, Subotic, Lenz – Gentner, Kroos (Becker 60'), Andrich – Ingvartsen (Ujah 66'), Bülter - Andersson (Polter 66')
Unused subs: Nicolas, Ryerson, Mees, Schmiedebach, Parensen, Schlotterbeck
Out: Abdullahi (knock), Gogia (knee), Prömel (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Watch: Davies: "Lewandowski always does extra work"
Japan's Bundesliga core that beat Germany and Spain
With eight Germany-based players in their World Cup squad, Japan had plenty of quality as they beat two of the tournament favourites.
When do clubs return from the winter break?
Here’s the full overview of what the 18 teams have planned before action resumes on 20 January 2023…
Who is Ritsu Doan?
Get the lowdown on the Freiburg attacker dubbed 'Japan's Messi' in his homeland...