Bayern Draw PSG, Real Face Liverpool In Champions League Quarter Finals

In this handout picture taken and made available on March 19, 2021, by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the quarter-final teams are displayed on the screen before the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals draw at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon. Valentin FLAURAUD / UEFA / AFP

 

Holders Bayern Munich will face last year’s beaten finalists Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of this season’s Champions League, while Friday’s draw for the last eight also threw up a clash between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The draw also pitted Premier League leaders Manchester City against Borussia Dortmund, with Chelsea set to play Porto in the other tie.

Bayern defeated PSG 1-0 behind closed doors in Lisbon last August to win their sixth European Cup and remain the team to beat in Europe, having won 18 and drawn one of their 19 games in the Champions League since the beginning of last season.

The first leg is set to be played in Germany on April 6 or 7, with the return in Paris a week later.


Draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, made on Friday:

Quarter-Finals

Manchester City (ENG) v Borussia Dortmund (GER)

Porto (POR) v Chelsea (ENG)

Bayern Munich (GER) v Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

Real Madrid (ESP) v Liverpool (ENG)

First legs April 6/7, second legs April 13/14


Meanwhile, the meeting of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and Real is another re-run of a recent final, with the Spaniards beating the Reds 3-1 in Kyiv in 2018 to win the last of their record 13 titles to date.

Liverpool bounced back from that to lift the trophy for the sixth time in Madrid in 2019.

Klopp’s side are due to be away from home in the first leg, but it remains to be seen where that match will be played.

Atletico Madrid’s home leg against Chelsea in the last 16 ended up being moved to the Romanian capital Bucharest due to restrictions imposed on travel to Spain by British authorities.

The winner between Liverpool and Real will go onto a semi-final against either Chelsea or Porto, throwing up the possibility of an all-English last-four tie.

Liverpool beat Chelsea in the semi-finals in 2005 and again in 2007.

Unbeaten in 13 games since the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as coach in late January, Chelsea will be expected to get the better of Portuguese champions Porto, who ousted Juventus in the last 16.

However, that tie could also be relocated given travel restrictions between the United Kingdom and Portugal which prompted both legs of last month’s Europa League clash between Arsenal and Benfica to be played at neutral venues, in Italy and Greece.

Meanwhile, City will be strong favourites against Dortmund, with the winner of that tie going through to a semi-final showdown with either Bayern or PSG.

Travel restrictions between the UK and Germany could also have an impact on City’s tie against Erling Braut Haaland’s Dortmund.

Both legs of City’s last-16 tie against Borussia Moenchengladbach were played in Budapest, as were both legs of Liverpool’s tie against RB Leipzig in the last round.

This season’s semi-finals are due to be played in late April and early May, with the final scheduled for May 29 in Istanbul.

AFP

Bayern Beat Lazio To Reach Champions League Quarter-Finals

Holders Bayern Munich qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday after a 2-1 home win over Lazio took them through 6-2 on aggregate.

Robert Lewandowski and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored either side of the interval as the Bavarians reached the last eight of the competition for the ninth time in their last 10 attempts.

Marco Parolo scored a late consolation for the Italians.

Details later

Kimmich Strike Maintains Bayern Munich’s Record Run In Europe

Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Joshua Kimmich, Lokomotiv Moscow’s Russian forward Fedor Smolov and Bayern Munich’s French midfielder Corentin Tolisso vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League football match between Lokomotiv Moscow and Bayern Munich in Moscow on October 27, 2020. MAXIM SHIPENKOV / POOL / AFP

 

Match-winner Joshua Kimmich admitted holders Bayern Munich were made to work for their 2-1 win at Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday which secured a record 13th straight Champions League victory for the German giants.

After Leon Goretzka gave Bayern an early lead in Russia, Lokomotiv deservedly equalised when midfielder Anton Miranchuk finished off a counter-attack on 70 minutes.

However, Germany midfielder Kimmich made sure Bayern stayed top of their group when he turned just outside the area and fired a superb strike into the bottom corner on 79 minutes.

“We had to work hard for the victory,” Kimmich told broadcaster DAZN.

“They didn’t do badly, but we still should have decided the game earlier.

“They had some dangerous counters, but in the end we are happy to win despite not being at our best.”

Lokomotiv squandered a golden chance early on when forward Fyodor Smolov headed straight at Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from point-blank range.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski shot wide before the European champions took the lead with a goal created by France internationals Corentin Tolisso and Benjamin Pavard.

Midfielder Tolisso passed across the penalty area to Pavard, whose cushioned volley picked out Goretzka to expertly head inside the near post on 13 minutes.

Bayern’s French pair linked up to great effect again to set up a chance for Kingsley Coman, who hit the post on 25 minutes.

However, Lokomotiv started to find space to exploit down the flanks, with Smolov and left-back Maciej Rybus forcing Neuer into saves at the end of the first half.

Bayern head coach Hansi Flick made a double substitution at the start of the second half with Germany winger Serge Gnabry — making his first appearance since recovering from coronavirus — and Javi Martinez introduced.

Bayern came within centimetres of a second goal just before the hour mark.

Gnabry fired in a quick cross, but Kimmich’s shot clipped the boot of Lokomotiv centre-back Slobodan Rajkovic and goalkeeper Guilherme gratefully gathered the loose ball.

At the other end, only a good challenge from David Alaba prevented Lokomotiv striker Ze Luis finishing a counter-attack.

When Lewandowski went down in the area on 65 minutes, referee Istvan Kovacs pointed to the spot, but the decision was overturned when the VAR spotted an offside in build-up.

Lokomotiv grabbed the deserved equaliser when Ze Luis burst free down the right and squared to Miranchuk who turned home.

The Cape Verde international wasted a huge opportunity to put Lokomotiv in front when he opted to go for goal himself rather than square for an unmarked Rifat Zhemaletdinov.

Kimmich made the hosts pay the price moments later when he received the ball outside the penalty area, taking one touch to control and drive home.

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer said the team’s belief got them through.

“We always believe in ourselves,” Neuer told DAZN.

“I think we’ve shown the spirit in our team over the last few weeks and months, but we can’t rely on that, we always have to start from scratch.

“You could see it wasn’t easy tonight.”

Bayern Beat PSG To Win Sixth Champions League Title

Bayern Munich’s German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer raises the European Champion Clubs’ Cup during the trophy ceremony after winning at the end of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 23, 2020. MATTHEW CHILDS / POOL / AFP

 

Bayern Munich won the European Cup for the sixth time on Sunday as Kingsley Coman’s goal gave them a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in an engrossing Champions League final in Lisbon, completing a fantastic season for the German giants and leaving their opponents still searching for the trophy they covet more than anything.

It was often a cagey final, with a bit of needle between the teams, but chances too, especially before Coman appeared at the back post to head in Joshua Kimmich’s inviting 59th-minute cross and wrap up a treble for a team who had already won the Bundesliga and German Cup.

Hansi Flick’s team will feel they deserved their victory, yet PSG will regret not taking any of the chances that were offered up to them on a surreal occasion at an empty Estadio da Luz.

Kylian Mbappe in particular should have done better than shoot straight at Manuel Neuer right on the stroke of half-time.

The France World Cup-winning forward had spoken of his determination to go down in his country’s history by helping PSG become just the second French winners of European football’s greatest prize.

But they will have to wait for the chance to match Marseille, who won the inaugural Champions League in 1993.

PSG’s Qatari owners spent a combined 402 million euros ($474m) on Neymar and Mbappe in 2017 to win this competition, not just reach the final. However, in the end, it was one who got away from Paris who denied them.

The 24-year-old Coman was born in Paris and started his career at PSG, only to leave in 2014 for Juventus, sensing he wouldn’t get the regular football he desired if he stayed put.

He had been on the bench in the semi-final against Lyon but was promoted to the starting line-up for the final, replacing Ivan Perisic on the left-wing.

Bayern Munich’s French defender Lucas Hernandez (C-R) and teammates celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 23, 2020. Manu Fernandez / POOL / AFP

 

Now he may not be welcome back in his home city again.

But at Bayern, he will always be remembered as the man who won them this trophy in 2020, in the club’s 11th final and seven years after they were last European champions.

– Mbappe’s big miss –

Flick’s team have ended this season with 21 straight victories and unbeaten in 30 matches. They deserved to be crowned in a full stadium.

However, only a few hundred lucky invitees were inside the cavernous home of Benfica to see the denouement of the ‘Final Eight’, at the end of a competition so long delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The strangest of finals pitted together two clubs who have taken very different routes to becoming part of Europe’s elite, with Bayern’s status as Germany’s most successful and powerful side long-established and PSG having left the rest of the French game behind following the Qatari takeover of 2011.

But if this was a mismatch in terms of history, on and off the pitch right now they are almost perfectly balanced.

That translated into the kind of proper match-up on the field that neither side often experiences these days.

Bayern Munich’s French forward Kingsley Coman (R) scores the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League final football match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 23, 2020. LLUIS GENE / POOL / AFP

 

Bayern came desperately close to opening the scoring midway through the first half when Lewandowski — looking for his 56th goal of the season — took down an Alphonso Davies cross, turned and struck a shot against the post.

The Pole also came close with a header that was saved by Keylor Navas, PSG’s goalkeeper who won the Champions League three times with Real Madrid and who was returning after injury ruled him out of the semi-final against RB Leipzig.

But Bayern take risks by playing with such a high line, and PSG should have punished them in the first half.

Neymar was denied by an excellent Neuer save after being set up by Mbappe, while Mbappe himself contrived to fire straight at the goalkeeper after David Alaba gited him the ball in the Bayern box.

Alaba had earlier seen his central defensive colleague, Jerome Boateng, limp out seemingly with a recurrence of the hamstring problem that forced him off against Lyon.

Niklas Suele replaced him and helped contain the Paris attack as Bayern held onto their lead.

Bayern had broken the deadlock just before the hour mark in a move that began with a sprayed Thiago Alcantara pass forward, and ended with Coman arriving to head in Kimmich’s perfect delivery.

Neymar ended the game with a yellow card for chopping down Lewandowski, and a runners-up medal, while Bayern celebrated.

AFP

Bayern Beat Lyon To Set Up Champions League Final Showdown With PSG

Bayern Munich’s players celebrate at the end of the UEFA Champions League semi-final football match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 19, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP

 

Serge Gnabry celebrated with his NBA-inspired ‘stir the pot’ gesture after scoring two goals in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Lyon to keep Bayern Munich on course to repeat their 2013 treble after a 3-0 victory.

Robert Lewandowski added the third for his 55th goal of the season as Bayern go on to face Paris Saint-Germain in Sunday’s final.

Gnabry gave Bayern an early lead in the Lisbon semi-final with a powerful shot, then doubled the Germans’ lead with a first-half tap-in before being replaced by Philippe Coutinho for the final 15 minutes.

Seconds after a shot by Lyon forward Karl Ekambi hit Bayern’s post, Gnabry opened the scoring with a stunning piece of skill.

After trapping Joshua Kimmich’s long-range pass, Gnabry cut in from the right wing, beat two defenders and powered his shot out of reach of Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes with 18 minutes gone.

Gnarby, 25, then doubled Bayern’s lead on 33 minutes by tapping home after Lopes parried a Lewandowksi shot.

Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Serge Gnabry (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final football match against Lyon at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 19, 2020. Miguel A. Lopes / POOL / AFP

 

His brace leaves Gnabry on nine Champions League goals this season, including four in Bayern’s stunning 7-2 demolition of Tottenham in the group stages.

After Bayern’s goal romp at Tottenham last October, Gnabry, a former Arsenal winger could not resist tweeting “North London is RED!!!”.

He netted two more goals in London last February in a 3-0 win at Chelsea in the last 16, first leg tie.

Gnabry also scored Bayern’s third in Friday’s jaw-dropping 8-2 rout of Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

Gnabry is this season’s third-highest scorer in the Champions League behind Lewandowski (15), who headed Bayern’s third goal against Lyon, and Dortmund teenager Erling Braut Haaland (10).

In helping Bayern win an eighth straight league title and lift the German Cup this season, Gnabry has now scored 23 goals in 45 games in all competitions.

He celebrated his stunning opener on Wednesday by making the gesture of stirring a spoon in a pot.

Earlier this season, he revealed, “I’m a big fan of the NBA, especially James Harden”.

The Houston Rockets playmaker celebrates with the same pot-stirring gesture when he lands a big shot.

Born in Stuttgart, Gnabry joined the Bundesliga club when he was 12.

Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (L) heads the ball with Lyon’s Belgian defender Jason Denayer during the UEFA Champions League semi-final football match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 19, 2020. FRANCK FIFE / POOL / AFP

 

From Stuttgart’s academy, where he played alongside future Germany team-mates Timo Werner and Joshua Kimmich, Gnabry’s performances attracted Arsenal.

He joined the Gunners after his 16th birthday in 2011 and was promoted to Arsenal’s reserves after less than a season with the Under-18 squad.

“I went to England because everyone told me not to go, that I couldn’t make it. I wanted that challenge,” Gnabry says of his time in north London.

After only a handful off appearances for Arsenal, Gnabry spent 2015/16 on loan at West Bromwich Albion before being selected for Germany’s Olympic team.

He won a silver medal, aged 21, and finished joint top-scorer with six goals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games as Germany lost to the Neymar-led Brazil in the final.

His senior debut followed in November 2016 with a hat-trick at minnows San Marino in Germany’s 8-0 away romp in a World Cup qualifier.

He returned to Germany for 2016/17 with Werder Bremen where he scored 11 goals in 27 appearances for the Bundesliga strugglers.

Bayern bought him in 2017, but immediately loaned him to Hoffenheim, before Gnabry joined the German giants permanently for 2018/19.

He has replaced Arjen Robben, whose winning goal in the London final gave Bayern their last Champions League title in 2013.

AFP

Bayern Crush Barcelona: UEFA Champions League Results

Barcelona’s German goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen reacts after conceding the eighth goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match against Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 14, 2020. Manu Fernandez / POOL / AFP

 

UEFA Champions League Results on Friday (all matches at 1900 GMT):

All matches in Lisbon
Quarter-finals

Estadio da Luz

Barcelona (ESP) 2 (Alaba 7-og, Suarez 57) Bayern Munich (GER) 8 (Mueller 4, 31, Perisic 22, Gnabry 27, Kimmich 63, Lewandowski 82, Coutinho 85, 89)

Saturday

Estadio Jose Alvalade

Manchester City (ENG) v Lyon (FRA)

Played Thursday

Estadio Jose Alvalade

RB Leipzig (GER) 2 (Olmo 50, Adams 88) Atletico Madrid (ESP) 1 (Joao Felix 71-pen)

Played Wednesday

Estadio da Luz

Atalanta (ITA) 1 (Pasalic 27) Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) 2 (Marquinhos 90, Choupo-Moting 90+3)

Semi-finals

Tuesday, August 18

Estadio da Luz

RB Leipzig v Paris Saint-Germain

Wednesday, August 19

Estadio Jose Alvalade

Manchester City or Lyon v Bayern Munich

Final on August 23 at Estadio da Luz

AFP

UCL: Chelsea/Bayern To Face Napoli/Barcelona In Quarter-Final

File photo Champions League

 

Barcelona and Bayern Munich will meet in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League should both sides make it through, Friday’s draw for the final eight confirmed.

Both teams still need to complete their last-16 ties, with Bayern almost there having won 3-0 away to Chelsea in the first leg, while Barcelona are due to host Napoli after a 1-1 draw in Italy.

Meanwhile, if Manchester City can finish the job in their last-16 tie against Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola’s team will go on to a quarter-final against either Juventus or Lyon.

City won 2-1 in Madrid in the first leg in March, while Juventus must overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their last-16 tie against Lyon.

Postponed in March as the pandemic took over, all remaining last 16 second legs are due to be played on August 7 and 8.

The winners will advance to the Final Eight, which will be held as a unique straight knockout tournament in Lisbon due to the difficulties caused by the coronavirus.

The draw threw up the possibility of a Clasico semi-final, with Barcelona and Madrid on collision course to meet in the last four should both make it that far.

The other side of the draw is clearer. First-time quarter-finalists RB Leipzig of Germany will meet Atletico Madrid, runners-up to city rivals Real the last time the Champions League final was played in Lisbon in 2014. Atletico knocked out holders Liverpool in the last 16.

The winners of the Leipzig v Atletico quarter-final will face either Paris Saint-Germain or Atalanta in the last four.

The quarter-finals will be played between August 12 and 15 in the Portuguese capital, with matches shared between Benfica’s Estadio da Luz and Sporting’s Estadio Jose Alvalade.

The semi-finals are scheduled for August 18 and 19, with the final on August 23 at the Estadio da Luz.

All games are set to be played without spectators after UEFA confirmed on Thursday that “matches should take place behind closed doors until further notice” because of the uncertain health situation around Europe.

The situation in Lisbon itself is particularly concerning, with lockdown restrictions reimposed last week on 19 neighbourhoods across the northern periphery of the city as virus cases increase at a worrying rate.

AFP

Bayern Close On Title As Bundesliga Steps Up Racism Protests

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) heads to score his team’s fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich on June 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP

 

Bundesliga players wore black armbands and took the knee in displays of support for the Black Lives Matter protests on Saturday, as Bayern Munich kept title rivals Borussia Dortmund at bay with a ninth successive win.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season as Bayern came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen, a win which kept them seven points ahead of second-placed Dortmund, who beat Hertha Berlin 1-0.

After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favour after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.

A mistake from Moussa Diaby allowed Coman to curl in the equaliser, before a fizzing shot from Leon Goretzka and an elegant lob from Serge Gnabry saw Bayern take a two-goal lead into the break.

“We didn’t start well, but I think it’s something which really distinguishes us at the moment, that we are able to fight our way back into games,” Goretzka told Sky.

Lewandowski sealed the win in the second half, equalling his most prolific Bundesliga season, although Leverkusen teenager Florian Wirtz struck late on to become the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever scorer at just 17 years and 34 days.

READ ALSO: Man City Face Critical Appeal Against Two-Season European Ban

“We already knew he was a huge talent,” said Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz of the teenager, who beat the record set by Nuri Sahin for Borussia Dortmund in November 2005 by 48 days.

As thousands of protesters assembled in city centres across Germany, both of the country’s top two clubs also used Saturday’s games to make statements against police brutality and racism.

Dortmund players warmed up in T-shirts bearing messages of solidarity such as “no justice, no peace”, before taking the knee in the centre circle with their Hertha colleagues for a moment’s silence before kick-off.

Bayern players, meanwhile, wore black “Black Lives Matter” armbands during their rampant win over Leverkusen.

“As players, we always have the same message — we are tolerant, we are open, we are open to the world,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer told Sky.

– Can keeps Dortmund hopes alive? –

Dortmund battled to a 1-0 home win over Hertha thanks to a second-half strike from Emre Can.

England winger Jadon Sancho, who was among the first Bundesliga players to lend his voice to the protests last weekend, missed from close range just after the break before setting up Can with a deft chip over the back line on 57 minutes.

A late equaliser from Christian Strohdiek saw bottom-of-the-table Paderborn snatch a 1-1 draw away to RB Leipzig.

Timo Werner set up Patrik Schick on 27 minutes to give Leipzig the lead, but they were forced to defend it with 10 men after Dayot Upamecano was booked twice in the first half.

Strohdiek’s last-minute strike gave Paderborn their fourth draw in five games, though Steffen Baumgart’s side remain eight points off Fortuna Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off place.

Duesseldorf themselves missed the chance to move towards safety, as they battled to a dramatic 2-2 draw against 10-man Hoffenheim.

A headed opener from Rouwen Hennings and a red card for Hoffenheim’s Benjamin Huebner put the home side in pole position.

However, the visitors struck back with goals from Munas Dabbur and Steven Zuber before Hennings saved a point with a late penalty.

Uwe Roesler’s side remain three points adrift of safety in the relegation play-off place, after goals from Moussa Niakhate and Pierre Kunde Malong gave fellow strugglers Mainz a rare win over local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.

Having sealed a crucial win with his 77th-minute strike, Cameroon international Kunde also joined the protests, taking a knee in place of a celebration.

“I think it’s good. It isn’t a political statement, it’s just a position, and these are values that we have. For me, there is no other possible position to take,” said Mainz sporting director Rouven Schroeder.

str/jc/dj

Bundesliga: Lewandowski Scores 30th Goal Of Season

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) heads to score his team’s fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich on June 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP

 

Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season on Saturday as Bayern Munich came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen and move a step closer to the Bundesliga title.

After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favour after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.

Lewandowski netted in the second half as Bayern established a 10-point lead over title rivals Borussia Dortmund, who host Hertha Berlin later on Saturday.

The game also saw Bayern lend their support to protests over the death of black American man George Floyd, with all players wearing armbands bearing the slogan “Black Lives Matter”.

AFP

Manuel Neuer Signs New Bayern Deal Until 2023

Bayern Munich’s German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer attends a training session at the football team’s training grounds in Munich, southern Germany, on May 20, 2020. Manuel Neuer has extended his contract with the club until 2023 it was announced on May 20, 2020. PHOTO: Christof STACHE / AFP

 

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has signed a new deal with Bayern Munich that ties him to the club until 2023, the Bundesliga champions said on Wednesday.

The announcement ends weeks of speculation over the Bayern captain’s future, with widespread reports that talks between player and club had hit the rocks.

“During the weeks of the shutdown for the coronavirus pandemic, I didn’t want to make a decision because nobody knew if, when and how Bundesliga football would continue,” Neuer said in a statement.

“I look to the future with great optimism. I feel very comfortable and at home in Bavaria.”

Last month the Bild daily reported that Neuer and his agent Thomas Kroth were demanding a five-year deal with a salary of 20 million euros ($22 million) per season.

Neuer had revealed his irritation both at the status of the talks and that details were being leaked to the media.

A World Cup winner in 2014 with Germany, Neuer joined Bayern from Schalke in 2011 and has won almost everything with the Bavarian giants, with seven Bundesliga titles, five German Cups and the 2013 Champions League to his name.

The 34-year-old is on course to win his eighth league crown with Bayern after a 2-0 win at Union Berlin on Sunday that maintained his team’s four-point lead at the top of the table as the Bundesliga became the first major European league to return from the coronavirus shutdown.

AFP

Just In: Leaders Bayern Munich Brush Aside Union On Bundesliga Return

Robert Lewandowski bagged his 26th league goal this season as leaders Bayern Munich maintained their four-point lead by brushing aside Union Berlin 2-0 behind closed doors on Sunday on the Bundesliga’s restart weekend.

READ ALSO: Dortmund Thrash Schalke As Bundesliga Makes ‘Very Strange’ Return

Lewandowski netted a first-half penalty and defender Benjamin Pavard added a late header in Berlin after the Bundesliga became the first top European league on Saturday to resume during the coronavirus pandemic.

Moenchengladbach Lead Bundesliga As Bayern Suffer Another Loss

Moenchengladbach’s French forward Marcus Thuram (C) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Javier Martinez (R) vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match in Moenchengladbach, western Germany, on December 7, 2019. UWE KRAFT / AFP

 

 

Bayern Munich dropped to sixth after Ramy Bensebaini’s injury-time penalty fired Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach to a 2-1 win over the reigning champions on Saturday.

A second straight league loss puts pressure on Hansi Flick, who has been put in charge until January and was tipped to see out the season as interim boss after winning his first five games.

Bayern, now seven points adrift in the title race, went ahead at Borussia Park when Ivan Perisic fired home just after the break, but defender Bensebaini headed Gladbach level with an hour gone.

The Algerian then struck his decisive stoppage-time penalty after Bayern’s Javi Martinez was sent off for a second yellow card.

There were wild scenes of celebrations from home fans at the final whistle of a game Bayern dominated for long stretches.

But like last week’s 2-1 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen, they only had themselves to blame as they squandered a string of chances.

Bayern had six clear first-half chances, two of which saw striker Robert Lewandowski fire wide.

They were denied the lead by goal-line technology on 29 minutes when Joshua Kimmich’s shot slid under Yann Sommer’s block, but the Gladbach goalkeeper scrambled and just managed to stop the ball fully crossing the line.

Bayern finally broke through when Perisic, a first-half replacement for injured Coretin Tolisso, hammered his shot on the turn to beat Sommer four minutes after half-time.

Surviving on less than 40 percent possession, Gladbach drew level on the hour mark against the run of play as they scored off their first clear chance.

Midfielder Jonas Hofmann whipped in a corner and Bensebaini powered his header past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Gladbach gained in confidence, but the game turned in the 90th minute when Bayern defender Javi Martinez gave a penalty away and was sent off for a clumsy tackle on Marcus Thuram in the area.

The Spain international trudged off after being shown second a yellow card as Bensebaini showed nerves of steel to convert the penalty.

– Dortmund run riot –

Elsewhere, RB Leipzig stay second after their 3-1 home win against Hoffeneheim as Timo Werner grabbed the opener, then netted a second-half penalty to leave the Germany striker with 15 league goals this season.

Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer scored Leipzig’s late third goal before defender Erim Bicakcic pulled back a consolation goal for Hoffenheim just before the whistle.

Borussia Dortmund eased the pressure on coach Lucien Favre to go third with a 5-0 home romp against Fortuna Duesseldorf, who drop into the bottom three, as England winger Jadon Sancho and club captain Marco Reus both scored twice.

Having ground out a 2-1 win with 10 men at Jurgen Klinsmann’s relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin last weekend, Dortmund ran riot after the break at home with four second-half goals.

Reus put the hosts ahead at Signal Iduna Park, then combined with Sancho and Thorgan Hazard after the break to shred Duesseldorf’s defence.

Sancho had a goal ruled out for offside on 52 minutes, but set up Hazard four minutes later, before scoring Dortmund’s third goal with an hour gone after combining with Reus.

Reus, then Sancho both claimed their second goals inside a devastating four-minute spell just before the whistle.

Freiburg moved up to fifth, a point above Bayern, with a 1-0 win at home to Wolfsburg thanks to a second-half winner from Jonathan Schmid while mid-table Augsburg enjoyed a 2-1 win at home to Mainz.

AFP