Munich - FC Bayern München ensured the festivities currently taking place in the city were given an extra boost with a 1-0 victory at home to VfL Wolfsburg.
After a goalless first half and with the match seemingly having reached an impasse, Thomas Müller got the all important breakthrough midway through the second period to keep the record titleholders hot on the heels of league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
With Bayern staging their first home game during this year’s Oktoberfest, it was perhaps inevitable that they would pull out all the stops in the pre-match build-up, with Lederhosen, marching bands and bouquets of flowers abundant. Yet the visitors appeared distinctly unimpressed and began determined to rip up the script, harrying their hosts in numbers and preventing them from settling into their familiar rhythm.
So much so that it was the Wolves who had the first clear sight of goal when former Bayern midfielder Luiz Gustavo leapt highest from a corner, but Manuel Neuer was able dive to his left to parry. Bastian Schweinsteiger went close with a header of his own moments later, but they were to be the only real chances in an intense encounter condensed for the most part into the middle third of the pitch.
N0 way through
Wolfsburg’s gameplan was clear, with Ivica Olic and Diego often pressing Dante and Jerome Boateng on the edge of their own penalty area to deny the hosts space. Forced to play long diagonal passes out to Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery on the wings, Bayern struggled to gain any momentum, with set-pieces seemingly providing the most likely source of a breakthrough.
David Alaba went close either side of half time with a couple of direct free-kicks, but for the most part it continued to be a game of cat and mouse, although Bayern did up the tempo after the break. Wolfsburg were pinned inside their own penalty area at times, with the hosts probing for a way through around the perimeter of the 18-yard box, although their slick tiki-taka style one-touch passing was initially ineffective.
Müller to the rescue
Midway through the second period, however, Bayern’s pressure eventually took its toll when Müller poked home at the back post from Ribery’s left-wing cross. Having resisted for so long, Wolfsburg’s morale was broken and for the next 15 minutes Bayern went for the kill, piling forward in even greater numbers. Mario Mandzukic should have doubled their lead in the closing period, but Naldo pulled off a stunning goal-line clearance to give the visitors renewed hope.
Try as they might though, there was no way through a well-drilled home defence, giving Bayern their sixth win from seven league games, and allowing the hoardes of supporters to head off to the Wiesn in even greater spirits.
Line-ups and statistics
Jon Stockitt reporting from the Allianz Arena