A penalty from Robert Lewandowski helped Bayern Munich stroll to a comfortable 2-0 victory at Union Berlin.
Lewandowski dispatched the spot-kick with ease, before Benjamin Pavard sealed the win with a header to secure the three points.
While the hosts made the brighter start, with Marius Bülter the first to have his on-target shot saved by Manuel Neuer, it was Die Roten who thought they had opened the scoring in the early stages. Unfortunately for them, Thomas Müller’s flicked effort was ruled out for offside after a VAR review.
But for all of Union Berlin’s good work, it was all undone by Neven Subotić’s foul on Goretzka in the penalty box. And who else could take it for the defending champions other than Lewandowski, who powerfully drilled home the spot-kick past Rafał Gikiewicz, to put the visitors in front just before half time.
The second half was uneventful, with Bayern content to hold onto possession in the middle third of the pitch, without creating many chances as a result. Grischa Prömel had the hosts’ best chance when he fired wide from outside the box.
And despite Union Berlin’s best efforts, they were unable to keep out Die Roten for a second time, when Benjamin Pavard nodded in a corner from Joshua Kimmich to double the lead in the closing stages.
It wrapped up a pretty comfortable victory for the defending champions, whose superior quality was enough to maintain their four point lead at the top of the table.
Key Talking Point
Union Berlin have been the feel-good story of the 2019/20 Bundesliga, having impressed in their first season in the top flight. And they’ve been tough to beat at home, having defeated both Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach earlier on in the campaign.
The break from football didn’t seem to affect their intensity, as they started the game as the sharper side. Defensively they looked solid, throwing bodies to block any incoming shot from Die Roten.
But a clumsy challenge from Subotić was enough to undo their hard work, and with an attack stifled by the offside trap used by their opponents, Union were unable to find a way past and create clear openings to equalise.
All things considered, it was a good effort from the hosts, who were very much the underdog in this encounter and did well to avoid a heavy defeat.
Union Berlin were doing a great job of defending deep while conceding space and the thing about football is that is still generally true but Subotic made one dumb mistake and their whole strategy is kaput
— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) May 17, 2020
Starting XI: Gikiewicz (6); Hübner (7), Schlotterbeck (7), Subotić (6); Trimmel (6), Andrich (6), Prömel (7*), Lenz; Ingvartsen (7), Ujah (7), Bülter (6).
Substitutes: Andersson (6), Gentner (6), Mees (N/A), Kroos (N/A), Ryerson (N/A).
Union Berlin needed a strong presence in midfield and Grischa Prömel certainly provided just that.
The 25-year-old constantly looked to win back the ball for the hosts and had a few close efforts to compliment the good defensive work to keep the Bavarians at bay.
Against a ball-dominant opponent, the tireless work of Prömel was key for the home side throughout the game.
Grischa Prömel fazendo um excelente trabalho na contenção dos meias do Bayern, seja Thiago, seja Kimmich.
— Pedro (@NagelsMaster) May 17, 2020
Key Talking Point
After watching their title rivals Borussia Dortmund cruise to a 4-0 win yesterday, the pressure was on Bayern to respond with a strong performance of their own.
Yet they didn’t start too well, with their movement not as sharp as you’d have come to expect from Hansi Flick’s side. While they had a strong hold of possession, they never used it in a threatening way that would have given them a multiple goal lead before half time.
The penalty aside, Die Roten seemed to take a measured approach throughout the game, prioritising ball possession. That however led to long periods of the game where they looked unable to find a way past the opposing defence, and ended up passing it sideways and backwards as a result.
There was clearly rust in the performances from several players, but thanks to an errant tackle from Subotić and slack marking from a corner, Bayern did enough to get the three points they needed to stay four points clear at the top.
Comprehensive, professional and determined win from my beloved Bayern Munich. Class performance from my boys
— Andrew Brasuk (@andrewBRASUK) May 17, 2020
Starting XI: Neuer (6); Pavard (7), Boateng (6), Alaba (6), Davies (7); Kimmich (6), Thiago (7); Goretzka (6), Müller (7), Gnabry (7); Lewandowski (8*).
Substitutes: Coman (6), Perišić (N/A), Cuisance (N/A).
It was no surprise that Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock for the away side.
The Polish star took his penalty coolly and dispatched it with ease. And though he didn’t get many clear chances to add to his total, he looked to be at his best despite the break from football.
His goal sent out a clear message to the rest of the Bundesliga – that Lewandowski is hungry to add more to his 40 goals this season.
40 – Robert Lewandowski has now scored 40+ goals in all competitions in each of the last five seasons:
15-16 | 42 in 51 apps
16-17 | 43 in 47 apps
17-18 | 41 in 48 apps
18-19 | 40 in 47 apps
19-20 | 40 in 34 apps*
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 17, 2020
Union Berlin face off against city rivals Hertha on Friday night, while Bayern host Eintracht Frankfurt a day later.