Bayern Munich are kind of a mess. They scrambled to hold onto a one goal lead against VfL Wolfsburg, while missing numerous wide open chances in front of goal, and allowing the visitors to mount a serious late challenge. Manuel Neuer proved the difference as they won 1-0.
Wolfsburg opened the match well. Their 5-man backline and defensive midfield was compact and structured, continually stifling Bayern attacks and making themselves felt in their own half. Their offense was the polar opposite. Fortunately for Bayern, lady luck did not shine on Valérien Ismaël’s side this day.
Douglas Costa opened the scoring in the 18th minute, unleashing a low drive under pressure that deflected off the foot of Luiz Gustavo, wrong footing Koen Casteels and easily settling into the back of the net. Given the impressive defensive presence Wolfsburg had been able to bring to bear to start the match, it was a disastrous occurrence for the visitors.
For Bayern, this match was defined by their profligacy in front of goal. Against an opposition with no centerbacks, time and again they found themselves with open headers in front of goal. From Mats Hummels to Thiago, Bayern got chance after chance and squandered them all.
Even Carlo Ancelotti’s substitutions couldn’t alter Bayern’s play in front of goal. Joshua Kimmich replaced Xabi Alonso, adding a dynamism to midfield that allowed Arturo Vidal to be a more potent offensive force, but the Wolfsburg defensive midfield showed they were equal to the challenge.
Instead it was Wolfsburg who dramatically altered the game with the introductions of Daniel Didavi and Yunus Malli. The strikers formed an electric duo, eviscerating the Bayern defense and forcing Manuel Neuer into save after save as the match passed the 80th minute mark. Bayern did just enough to hold on for the final 10 minutes and book their place in the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal.