Robert Lewandowski converted a late penalty as off-colour Bayern Munich beat Wolfsburg 2-1 at the Volkswagen Arena on Matchday 23.
Wolfsburg 1-2 Bayern Munich
Boasting eight changes from the side that beat Schalke 2-1 last weekend, Bayern began slowly and were behind after only eight minutes when Daniel Didavi headed Yunus Malli's short corner past a helpless Sven Ulreich. Offended by Didavi's impertinence, the champions pressed forward, but Sebastian Rudy spurned their only good chance in response. Perhaps due to the changes, Bayern lacked any real verve or inspiration during the first period – best exemplified by Sandro Wagner's failed attempt to convert Arjen Robben's overhit through-ball just prior to the interval.
Bayern hardly improved after the break - and Wolfsburg could have doubled the lead within moments of the restart, only for Didavi to fire his free-kick over - but were awarded a penalty in the 54th minute. Robben stepped up, but Koen Casteels guessed correctly, diving right and tipping onto the post. If Wolfsburg thought that perhaps it wasn't going to be Bayern's day, then they were wrong: it is rarely not Bayern's day, and the Dutchman made amends soon afterwards when he crossed from the right for Wagner to head in at the front post. Buoyed by the leveller, the serial champions threw everything at their hosts in the closing stages and got their reward from the spot after Robben was felled: substitute Lewandowski stepped up and there were no mistakes on this occasion, the Pole securing three points for the visitors in dramatic fashion.
Man of the match
Who else but Lewandowski? The Pole was the epitome of cool in injury time, scoring expertly from the spot and securing three points for his side with his 17th consecutive converted penalty. Unrivalled at the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts, the Bayern forward has few equals in the world game.
- Lewandowski has scored 16 goals in 15 Bundesliga games against Wolfsburg.Ulreich made his 200th top-flight appearance in this game (176 outings for Stuttgart; 24 for Bayern).Thiago made his first Bayern appearance for 87 days – he last featured in November against Anderlecht, when he picked up a thigh muscle tear.The last time Bayern made as many as eight changes to their starting line-up between Bundesliga games was October 2016.Robben's penalty was the first he has missed for Bayern since the UEFA Champions League final defeat to Chelsea in 2012.Wolfsburg head coach Schmidt made his 100th Bundesliga outing as a coach.
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Jung (William 78'), Knoche, Bruma, Itter - Guilavogui, Arnold (c) - Steffen (Osimhen 83'), Malli (Dimata 90+2'), Didavi - Origi
Unused subs: Grün, Bazoer, Mehmedi, Rexhbecaj
Absentees: Brooks (knee), Blaszczykowski (back), Camacho (ankle), Tisserand (hamstring), Gerhardt (ankle)
Coach: Martin Schmidt
Bayern: Ulreich - Rafinha, Süle, Martinez, Bernat - Rudy, Thiago (Müller 62'), Tolisso - Robben, Wagner (Lewandowski 79'), Ribery (c) (Alaba 66')
Unused subs: Starke, Hummels, Boateng, Kimmich
Absentees: Neuer (foot), Vidal (suspended)
Coach: Jupp Heynckes
Watch: Thiago gives his thoughts on Bayern's win