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FC Bayern 1-0 VfL Wolfsburg | Recap

Bavarians turn close call into hard-fought three points against former teammates Gustavo and Olic.

Alexander Hassenstein

If Wolfsburg's plan was to make the match dull through giving up few chances and taking even fewer themselves, the afternoon was nearly a smashing success.

Truthfully, Wolfsburg put together the most capable defensive performance by a Bundesliga team against Bayern this season, successfully jamming up the attacking midfield and ensuring that no Bayern chances made it over the back line.

Another thing that the Wolves knew to emphasize were their setpieces, and they nearly got on the board first with one within 10 minutes. Former Bayern man Luiz Gustavo got a head on Ricardo Rodriguez' corner and forced Manuel Neuer to make a world-class save to keep the match scoreless.

The rest of the half was marked by scrappy, physical play that landed Bastian Schweinsteiger and Diego Ribas in the book with yellow cards to each.

Schweinsteiger missed a good opportunity to score 19 minutes in, but his header off the corner was off target.

The best chance of the half came just before the whistle when another former Bayern man, Ivica Olic, bungled a clearance in the box and it fell to Arjen Robben's feet, but the Dutchman inexplicably missed from mere meters away without even forcing Benaglio to make a save.

The second half saw more of Wolfsburg's standout performer on the day, Christian Träsch, continue to get the better of Franck Ribery time and time again down his side of the field. Most of VfL's chances were caused by the German's persistently accurate crosses into dangerous areas, albeit crosses that were never converted.

Bayern's extra class was starting to shine through, just like the sun at the Allianz Arena, and 63 minutes into the match they would find their goal.

Newly substituted Xherdan Shaqiri used his first touches of the ball to release Franck Ribery down the left side, where Europe's Footballer of the Year sent in a perfect cross to Mario Mandzukic. The Croatian, however, could not get a foot or a head on it, and it bounced to Thomas Müller who proceeded to smash home a shot from a difficult angle near the right post to beat Benaglio.

Now up a goal, Bayern played more freely and with a higher tempo while trying to get a second.

Eleven minutes from time, it was nearly the inverse of the play that scored a goal, with Ribery setting up a Shaqiri run down the left side and the Swiss player finding Mandzukic in the box. Mandzukic beat Benaglio, but Naldo cleared the chance off the line to keep his side in the match.

There would be one last scare from die Wölfe roughly six minutes before regular time ended, when VfL's usual playmaker Diego lofted a free kick to Naldo, whose solid attempt at goal was saved by Manuel Neuer.

With the three points, Bayern remain tied at the top of the Bundesliga table with Borussia Dortmund, though with the Black and Yellow's five goals this afternoon, are behind on goal difference once again.

Bayern now look forward to their trip to England to take on Manchester City in what has to be the tie of this Champions League matchweek, which occurs on Wednesday.

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