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Robert Lewandowski beats Freiburg, 2-1

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Freiburg struck early, but Bayern found a way to take all three points, thanks to the hardest-working striker in the league.

PSV Eindhoven v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Clad in white, the Bavarians came to Black Forest in the hope opening the Rückrunde with a victory, but those hopes were dashed early, as Freiburg proved to be a force to be reckoned with on their icy home pitch. Robert Lewandowski, though, had plans of his own.

Freiburg aggressive early, Bayern find an answer

Freiburg came roaring out of the gates with pace and pressing, shocking Bayern just three minutes into the game. After dispossessing Robert Lewandowski in the midfield (more on that in the observations), Freiburg instantly shifted to attack. In the ensuing fray, Vincenzo Grifo redirected a desperate clearance by Mats Hummels to Janik Haberer, who had a clear path on goal. With a perfect first touch, Haberer raced ahead of David Alaba and scored the opening goal just past Manuel Neuer’s reach. The boys from the Black Forest thus took a surprising early lead.

Freiburg applied relentless pressure to Bayern’s midfield, forcing the Bavarians to attempt to work around them, searching for an outlet to bring the ball up on the wings. Arturo Vidal seemed to be doing the work of two players – badly. He was isolated and exposed to Freiburg’s pressing, while the slow-moving Xabi Alonso lingered near Bayern’s back line.

Bayern would not fire a dangerous shot until nearly a half-hour had elapsed. Forced to fight for the midfield, David Alaba and Thomas Müller muscled Freiburg’s defenders off the ball, finding Robben out right. A chipped cross bounced to Vidal’s feet, but his shot was deflected wide of the goal. Bayern’s frustration began to show throw as Alonso received a yellow card for a nasty tactical foul.

Douglas Costa and Robert Lewandowski then singlehandedly brought Bayern back into the game: Costa corralled a long lob from Robben and creating a perfect opportunity for Lewandowski with a penetrating cross through Freiburg’s defenders. But Lewandowski’s shot was deflected over the goal. Costa took the ensuing corner and Lewandowski volleyed this ball in the back of the net.

The teams parted at halftime 1-1, with Bayern claiming 75.7% possession, but hardly looking like the better team.

Stalemate, until Lewandowski strikes twice

Neither coach made any substitutions at the start of the second half. Bayern started the half calmer and more precise, trading blows with Freiburg and steadily building pressure. Ten minutes into the half, however, Joshua Kimmich came off the bench for Vidal, who left clutching his side, having apparently aggravated his rib injury.

Bayern brought the ball forward more consistently as Freiburg’s pressing game began to flag. Philipp Lahm and Arjen Robben made better headway against Freiburg’s stout defense – Robben even firing off one of his trademark left curls – but the goal remained elusive. Mats Hummels also launched a dangerous header Schwolow’s way, but the keeper was ready.

Ancelotti tried to breathe new life into Bayern’s attack by replacing the hard-working left flank, Douglas Costa and Alaba, with Franck Ribery and Juan Bernat. The gambit almost paid immediate dividents, as a one-two by both of them produced a brilliant cross on goal, leading to a corner. On the other end of the field, Haberer was carded for diving.

The dying minutes witnessed two close chances by each team: after a blunder by Freiburg’s keeper Schwolow, Robben could not get off clean shot on goal. And on the other end, Maximilian Philipp for Freiburg fired a nice breakaway shot just wide.

Then, the unfathomable. A run and cross by Ribery found Lewandowski surrounded by defenders: he chests the ball, juggles it, and fires with his left foot. That amazing display of individual skill by Bayern’s phenomenal striker won the game.

Match Information

Goals:
Bayern Munich: Lewandowski (35’, 91’)
Freiburg: Haberer (4’)

Yellow Cards:
Bayern Munich: Alonso (31’), Costa (48’)
Freiburg: Haberer (75’), Schwolow (83’)

Bayern XI: Neuer, Alaba (Bernat, 71’), Hummels, Martinez, Lahm; Vidal (Kimmich, 55’), Alonso; Costa (Ribery, 71’), Müller, Robben; Lewandowski (35’, 91')

Freiburg XI: Schwolow; Günter, Torrejon, Gulde, Stenzel (Kübler, 83’); Grifo, Frantz, Höfler, Philipp; Niederlechner (Petersen, 70’), Haberer (4’; Bulut, 79’)