Bayern Munich turned in a breezy, almost complacent win over Bundesliga stragglers VfB Stuttgart, and it almost turned into another late-game nightmare. Instead, the Bavarians take a crucial three points to stay ahead of Borussia Dortmund on goals differential — the race for the league title very much alive.
“It was an important win for us. But of course we didn’t play our best game,” said Bayern striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting after the game (via @iMiaSanMia). “We can improve a few things. The opponent didn’t give up and made it difficult. After their goal, you could feel the atmosphere in the stadium, and that they were hoping for a point.”
Choupo-Moting scored what can in retrospect be regarded as the winning goal, profiting off an exquisite first-time touch from Thomas Müller in the box. On a day where most of Bayern’s top chances both early and late were aimed straight at Stuttgart keeper Fabian Bredlow, it was a clinical moment underscoring the Cameroonian striker’s importance in Julian Nagelsmann’s setup.
Nagelsmann’s triple substitution just past the hour mark seemed to portend doom for the relegation-battling home side. The visiting Bavarians were able to call on the likes of Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané, and Serge Gnabry from their bench — Choupo-Moting, Jamal Musiala, and Kingsley Coman giving way. But Stuttgart showed some Swabian steel in holding strong and carving out some chances of their own, finally resulting in a late goal and a frenetic seven-odd minutes to close out the match.
Bayern have inexplicably dropped points late before this season, and showed some of that same vulnerability this time. Fortunately for the visitors, the stadium atmosphere was not enough to change the winds of their fortunes.
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