Bayern Munich came stumbling out of the winter break, but managed to drag themselves past Freiburg with a last minute 2-1 victory.
Both sides had not played competitive football since 2016, but that did not show as they battled it out for a crucial three points. Freiburg were looking to get towards the Europa League places, while Bayern needed to point to pull away from RB Leipzig.
The hosts shocked Die Roten with an early goal in the first five minutes. The Bavarians were brought out of holiday mode and immediately put the pressure on their opposition in response. The reigning champions eased into their heavy possession play, as they dominated the midfield but struggled to score.
Bayern finally equalised towards the end of the second half when Robert Lewandowski was left unmarked to volley home from a corner. However, the visitors continued to struggle for goals from there, as Freiburg’s defence held on in a stoic manner.
It was not to be for Breisgau-Brasilianer, however, as Carlo Ancelotti’s side kept pushing until the dying minutes of the game – where Lewandowski popped up yet again to fend off three defenders and poke home a fantastic winner.
Bayern re-energised after winter break
Any risks of being out of practice after a month break were quickly squashed in the opening 30 minutes of the game. While Bayern did stumble in the first few minutes and conceded, they had endless amounts of energy to push Freiburg to their limit. Ancelotti will also be delighted to see his side continue their winning streak from the end of last year.
There was a risk that Bayern’s good form before the winter break could be lost as the squad recuperated over the Christmas period, but it is clear that the coach has been pushing the squad hard during training. The ladder leaders are still far away from the level of football they would want, but being able to grind out dramatic wins every week is surely going to be the edge that they have over title rivals RB Leipzig.
No space for Renato Sanches
Renato Sanches was one of Bayern’s two big signings after the 2015-16 season and was considered one of Europe’s best young talents after he helped guide Portugal to the Euro 2016 trophy. Unfortunately, his career in Munich has been sputtering – the youngster has struggled to make an impact in the few games he has played and is finding it hard to break into the first team.
Against Freiburg he sat on the bench and with Bayern in need of a winning goal in the second half, Ancelotti opted to put on Franck Ribery instead. The fact the manager appears not to trust Sanches with saving games is worrying and with Douglas Costa and Arjen Robben in destructive form, it is looking grim for the Portuguese’s chances of a starting spot on the wings.
Bayern barely pull ahead on the table
Bayern Munich have finally managed to reach a comfortable position in the standings with a six-point gap between themselves and RB Leipzig.
Although Die Bullen have a game in hand, that crucial loss against Bayern last year has cost their title hopes dearly. Bayern can now breathe a sigh of relief though as they are in control of their title dreams. Yet Leipzig will surely be there to pounce on the slightest dip in form.