Bayern Munich grind out win against Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich had to work hard to beat Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena. (Photo by LUKAS BARTH-TUTTAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Bayern Munich had to work hard to beat Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena. (Photo by LUKAS BARTH-TUTTAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Bayern Munich digs deep to clinch a narrow victory against Wolfsburg.

Robert Lewandowski’s brace and Manuel Neuer’s heroics in goal were enough for Bayern Munich to clinch a 2-1 win against Wolfsburg on Wednesday. The German Champions remain second in the table on the back of this victory, one point behind Bayer Leverkusen.

Hansi Flick decided to change the shape by moving to a three-man defense. He made a flurry of changes to the lineup. Some were forced, while some were due to rotation. Niklas Sule returned in central defense, while Serge Gnabry was operating as a right wing-back. Leroy Sane was also handed a league start. Meanwhile, the visitors made only one change to the team that won against Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend. Marin Pongracic replaced John Anthony Brooks in central defense.

Slow and sluggish starts have hurt Bayern in the past few weeks. Wednesday was no different as Die Roten were once again caught off guard on the counter. They were moving the ball quickly, but just one good move from Wolfsburg was enough for them to go behind. Kevin Mbabu floated a hopeful cross from the right flank. The cross was met beautifully met by Maximilian Philipp just inside the box. A sweet contact from Philipps made sure that Neuer had no chance.

Bayern looked ponderous after conceding the first goal. They did create half-chances, but Wolfsburg was the more threatening side for the majority of the first half. The visitors were showing composure to hold on to the ball after winning in their third. If there was slightly better decision making from Wolfsburg, then Die Roten would have found themselves in trouble.

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Just before the first-half whistle, the hosts made it a smash and grab contest through a brilliant bit of play from Kingsley Coman on the left flank. The French winger delivered a vicious ball in the box, which was eventually headed by Lewandowski past the keeper.

The momentum from the end of the first half was maintained by Die Roten when he returned on the pitch after the break. Lewandowski was once again the hero as Jerome Boateng played a delicious through ball to find him in the final third. The Polish striker showed composure to slot it past the keeper and help the team to go ahead in the game.

Wolfsburg’s slow start to the second half had cost them a goal. However, they responded strongly by gaining control of the game. They were pushing Bayern’s defensive line deeper and exploiting the wider areas by creating the overload on the right flank.

Die Roten mustered some half chances, but it was one-way traffic in the rest of the second half as Wolfsburg were giving no breathing space to the German Champions. The visitors were not clinical with their chances. Whenever Wolfsburg did get their shots on target, Neuer was there to make sublime saves. The German goalkeeper made three match-saving saves after the 80th minute.

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Bayern managed to cling on to the win as Wolfsburg managed to get 17 shots in the game. Results matter before the winter break, but Hansi Flick will be concerned about the dip in performances of the team. Even though the return of Joshua Kimmich will give the team much more balance, there is a lot of scope for improvement in the team’s performances. (Stats courtesy: Whoscored)

"Bayern Munich (3-4-3)NeuerSule-Boateng-AlabaGnabry-Muller-Tolisso-HernandezSane-Lewandowski-ComanSubstitutes: Nubel, Pavard, Costa (↓Sane (90′)), Choupo-Moting, Davies, Sarr, Roca (↓Tolisso (70′)), Richards, Musiala (↓Gnabry (70′))Wolfsburg (4-2-3-1)CasteelsMbabu-Lacroix-Pongracic-RoussillionArnold-SchlagerBaku-Philipp-BrekaloWeghorstSubstitutes: Pervan, Silva (↓Roussillion (86′)), Klaus, Bialek (↓Baku (70′)), Guilavogui (↓Pongracic (78′)), Gerhardt, Ginczek (↓Philipp (86′)), Siersleben, Victor (↓Brekalu (70′))"