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Franck Ribery leads Bayern Munich to 2-0 win over Wolfsburg

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Pep Guardiola's substitutes made the world of difference as Bayern downed Woflsburg 2-0 at the Volkswagen Stadion

After Robert Lewandowski's 5-goal thriller of a performance in the Hinrunde against VfL Wolfsburg, the question on everyone's mind was could Wolfsburg actually defend against this potent Bayern Munich attack? The question for nearly 65 minutes was indubitably, yes, but Pep Guardiola's second half substitutions were enough to see Bayern to a 2-0 victory as they took their chances with aplomb.

An early set piece for Wolfsburg belied the danger Bayern were in on for on set pieces as Max Kruse easily won a header, flicking it far post and low. Only the sprawling gangly form of Manuel Neuer was able to keep out what could have easily been a squeaker of a goal.

While Bayern were certainly suspect in the air, they made up for it with control, pushing forward on either wing looking to drag the Wolfsburg fullbacks and centerbacks hither and fro. To Wolfsburg's credit, Naldo and Dante held firm for the first 45 minutes. For the rest of the Wolfsburg squad, it wasn't so pretty as Bayern easily won balls back inside their own half or before they create sustained attacks of their own.

For Bayern's part they lacked penetration as Douglas Costa played centrally and found his space and mobility severely restricted by the combination of Maxi Arnold and Luiz Gustavo. As a result, the Brazilian spent much of the first half futily drifting around the pitch trying to get involved in the match.

The most dangerous chance of the half went the way of Wolfsburg  as a beautiful cross from Julian Draxler found Kruse who was easily able to out muscle Philipp Lahm to the header. The perfectly placed header fell to the feet of Marcel Schaefer who pulled the shot just wide of the post.

With a structured and defensive astutely Wolfsburg side, Pep Guardiola went to his bench early and often in the second half bringing on both Thiago and Franck Ribery before it was barely 10 minutes old. Thiago's ability to thread the needle and Ribery's pace unlocked the Wolfsburg block as Bayern crafted numerous excellent chances. But their exchange of possession and control for pace and attacking emphasis opened the backdoor for Wolfsburg who gladly took their opportunities to make dangerous thrusts forward.

Despite that, it was Bayern who drew first blood. Ribery and Lewandowski combined down the left in the 65th minute and as the Polish striker sent a strike in on goal, a deflection off Naldo's boot spun high and out of control. In the perfect position, Kingsley Coman tapped the ball home first time. The deadlock was finally broken.

10 minutes later Bayern Munich put the result beyond a doubt as they struck on the counter following a sustained Wolfsburg attack. A long ball found Kingsley Coman down the right and the Frenchman's long cross found Franck Ribery who chested the ball down to the feet of Robert Lewandowski. Lewandowski did not miss as he hit the ball first time into the side netting of the far post giving Koen Casteels no chance.

Match Details

Bayern Munich (2-0) Wolfsburg

Bayern: Coman (65'), Lewandowski (75')
Wolfsburg:

Bayern XI: Neuer – Lahm, Kimmich, Alaba, Bernat – Alonso – Coman (Rode 88'), Costa (Thiago 49'), Müller, Robben (Ribery 56') – Lewandowski

Wolfsburg XI:  Casteels- Träsch (Schurrle 72'), Naldo (Knoche 76'), Dante, Rodriguez- Arnold, Luiz Gustavo- Vieirinha, Draxler, Schäfer (Azzaoui 84') - Kruse