In truth the result flattered the visitors, who had Manuel Neuer to thank for keeping their record intact after a superb second-half display by a brave Gladbach outfit.
Visitors on top
With the teams occupying the top two positions in the standings going into Matchday 9, the fixture had been billed as a must-see encounter, and it didn’t disappoint. Proceedings began at a furious pace and both sides sought to get forward as quickly as possible, although it was largely one-way traffic as Bayern rarely relinquished possession of the ball. David Alaba went closest early on with his curler from the left hitting the post, while Thomas Müller fired wide when well placed.
Gladbach were defending compactly but conceded possession almost immediately after winning it, which prevented them from developing any rhythm. Yet for all Bayern’s dominance they struggled to find a way past their deep-lying hosts, especially with their most penetrating players, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, absent and on the bench respectively.
Gladbach go close
Curiously it was Gladbach who had the best chance to break the deadlock when Max Kruse latched on to Andre Hahn’s pass following a breakaway, but he failed to get any power on his shot when free in front of Manuel Neuer. Nevertheless, that sight of goal gave the Foals confidence to continue their strategy of counterattacking at pace and they created another opening when Patrick Herrmann spied Hahn bursting into the box, but the winger was just unable to connect.
After the restart it was again Gladbach who went closest to scoring after another swift break had the Foals in a three-on-two situation, but Neuer managed to tip away Hahn’s forceful drive and Medhi Benatia cleared before Raffael could poke in the rebound. The chances were by now coming thick and fast and after Yann Sommer did well to save a close-range Lewandowski effort, Gladbach twice got behind the Bayern defence but neither Hermann nor Hahn could hit the target.
There was very little to see of the visitors’ early dominance as Gladbach’s series of chances left the league leaders on the ropes, wary of exposing themselves at the back. Neuer had a busier afternoon than he has grown used to, and was once again called into action to flick away Raffael’s left-wing free-kick that looked bound for the net after evading everyone in the box.
Gladbach continued to shade events in the closing stages and forced a rattled Bayern side into making rare mistakes on the ball. Raffael very nearly scored a late winner following superb play by Herrmann, but again Neuer was well positioned to save. Both clubs remain at the Bundesliga summit, but on the overall balance of play Bayern can consider themselves fortunate not to have suffered a first league defeat here.
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