Bayern Munich maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga after an entertaining 5-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Goals from Leon Goretzka, Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski and Aphonso Davies did the damage – along with a Martin Hinteregger own goal – as Borussia Dortmund were kept at arm’s length ahead of Tuesday’s crunch meeting that could have a big say in the title race.
Indeed, if Hansi Flick’s men can beat Dortmund they will take a massive step towards an eighth successive championship.Â But their lax defending from set-pieces will be a cause for concern as two Hinteregger goals at the right end for Frankfurt in the space of four second-half minutes briefly threatened to derail the hosts’ evening.
Frankfurt have been troublesome opponents for Bayern this season as it was Frankfurt’s 5-1 win in November’s reverse fixture game that prompted the sacking of Niko Kovac.
But there was never really any chance of a repeat, even with the Allianz Arena eerily empty.
The writing was on the wall in the opening 15 minutes as Bayern wasted two chances to go in front, first Lewandowksi thundering an effort into the crossbar from a corner and then Benjamin Pavard heading straight at Kevin Trapp when it seemed easier to score.
80 – With 80 goals after 27 matchdays, @FCBayernEN have set a new #Bundesliga record. Infamous. #FCBSGE pic.twitter.com/9OApAk7Ckv
The opener eventually came in the 17th minute and it was a fine move as Muller was set free down the left and he pulled it back for Goretzka, who arrived late in the area with a classy finish.
It was total home domination but Bayern had to wait until the 41st minute to double their lead. Davies had space on the left and found Muller, who tucked it away well, with the goal allowed to stand after a lengthy VAR check.
When Lewandowski scored his 42nd goal of the season just 45 seconds after the restart, Frankfurt would have been fearing the worst.Â The Poland striker powered home a header from Kingsley Coman’s cross to put his side three up.
But Bayern’s vulnerability from corners was highlighted twice in the space of four minutes as Frankfurt hauled themselves back into the game.
First Hinteregger converted at the second attempt after he was inexplicably allowed to retrieve his first header and then from their next attack, the defender sent in a glancing header after no one tracked his run.
But just after the hour, Bayern calmed their nerves and re-established their grip on the game, as Davies fired home from inside the area.
It became something of a rout 16 minutes from time when Hinteregger got his feet tangled after Serge Gnabry closed in on goal and put the ball into his own net.
Bayern extend their lead back to four points over Dortmund with a peculiar victory. Imperious and irrepressible for most of the game they suffered a curious wobble at set-pieces that pinned their three goal lead back to one before restoring it. Terrific finishes from Goretzka and Muller and some terrific play from Davies and Kimmich. A thoroughly deserved win.Â
Eintracht, currently leading 7-6 on aggregate,Â cross for Kamada in the box. HeÂ brings it down with his arm and the referee gives a toot of his shrill whistle. Free kick.Â
Moments beforeÂ Toure, flooding into the box from the right, harpoons a low shot that Neuere saves smartly with his hands and chest. Again Dost is dischuffed that he wasn’t the recipient of a pass.Â
Kimmich’s shot, bound for the bottom left-corner, hits Muller and rebounds to an Eintracht player. The ball is played up to Kostic who brings it forward stylishly and has Dost making a run beyond Boateng but he takes the shot on himself and thrashes it into the inside foot of the post.Â
Sow and Kostic set off up the left on a counter but the pass from the former to the latter is too heavy and travels out of play.Â
Ilsanker saves the day with a scrambled shank behind after Davies once again pierces the gap between full-back and right centre-back. He’s a sensational talent, young Alphonso.Â
Two more Frankfurt changes: Andre Silva departs to be replaced by Bas Dost. And Erik Durm, the World Cup-winning squad memberÂ comes on for Da Costa.Â
Hat-trick for Hintergger – with an own goal. Gnabry’s low shot was saved by Trapp but the ball was deflected from his hand between Hinteregger’s legs. It hit one ankle, rebounded on to his other foot and trickled over the line. That’s the match ball for him.Â
BT tells us for the umpteenth time this half that on Tuesday it’s Der Klassiker. We know. You keep telling us. Both teams have far from.. er… Klassik defences.Â
Neuer has to muddy his knees at last with aÂ fine close range save low to his right to denyÂ Gacinovic who was played through by Andre Silva’s gorgeous backheel. Â Â
Coman wastes an opportunity by taking the shot on from an angle of about 30 degrees from the left post instead of squaring it to the far better placed Kimmich and/or Lewandowski. Trapp saves it low with his left hand.Â
Alphonso Davies with the right-foot finish having been given the ball by Gelson Fernandes who was trying to cut out a pass to Lewandowski but served it up under a silver cloche for the full-back. Davies took a touch to sit Trapp down then fired his shot past the keeper.Â
Kostic speeds down the left and whips over a cross that was just behind Andre Silva and Davies scrambles it clear. Bayern break and Muller launches a deep cross from the right. Lewandowski stands ready to volley until Toure hooks it off his toe.Â
Why are Bayern so poor at defending corners. Keown condemns zonal marking but it can’t be that. It’s defenders playing at statues. Surely those in the zones where Hintergger starts and finishes his run could do much more to stop him winning those aerial challenges.Â
More terrible marking and Hinteregger makes a cute, diagonal near post run and buries his header. Eight goals this season for the centre-half.Â
Andre Silva scurries down the right after being found by Rode’s pass. He tries to pick out Gacinovic but his pass strikes Boateng and goes out for a corner from which …
Terrible defending as Hinteregger wins the header, sends it up vertically and battles to be first to it when it drops to scoop in a scruffy left-foot shot as Alaba stands off and watches. Don’t think Neuer has had to use his hands all game, and didn’t do there either. The 5-1 revanche scoreline is on.Â
Perisic with waht Ron Atkinson used to call a ‘magnificent arrive’ ghosts in at the far post to meet Pavard’s arcing cross and steers it into the high hoardingÂ behind the goal.
Eintracht seem to have gone to three at the back, little good that it’s done them.Â
Lewandowski stoops to head in Coman’s hooked cross. You could drive a bus down the gaps between Eintracht’s defenders. They’re a rabble out there and could easily lose by six.Â
Should have been more than two minutes added on after the delay for Lewandowski’s cut face and the VAR check.Â
A doddle for Bayern Munich so far in a fluent performance of high-class movement and passing. The full-backs are pushed so high, Muller is apparating left, right and centre and the lethalÂ Lewandowski is permanently poised to pounce, with his bear-trap reflexes.Â
Bayern are defending on halfwayÂ and they catch Kostic offside inches into their half when the long diagonal from Toure tries to set him free.Â
Kimmich takes but it skips over the box and bounces out via a clearance for a throw.Â
Rode presses unusually high and immediately causes some panic in the Bayern defence. More of that, please. They hack it clear this time. A minute later Rode clatters into Coman and Bayern have a free-kick on the right, 40 yards from goal.Â
Long wait for VAR confirmation. Lovely cross from Alphonso Davies. perfectly weighted with just the right amount of spin to sit up in the six-yard box.Â
Thomas Muller makes the diagonal run to the near post, traps it with one foot and finishes it with the other. Eintracht think they’d caught him offside but VAR exonerates him.Â
Hinteregger has drawn blood and a booking. After treatment for Lewandowski, Bayern take the corner and Alaba, at the edge of the box, spanks a rising shot that Eintracht turn over the bar for another. Kimmich takes and Lewandowski wins the ball under immense pressure and gives Trapp some work.Â
Lewandowski essays a one-two with Coman but before he can run on to the return, Hinteregger clotheslined him with a strong arm and ended up punching him in the face. The ref plays advantage and Coman wriggles through and screws a shot into a defender’s shins and out for the corner.Â
Hintergger goes on a wander upfield and thrashes a left-foot shot from 25-30 yards over the bar.Â
Gacinovic gives the ball away for the third time. Keown tuts. Kostic tracks Coman all the way back to his own box which ought to earn him a brownie point or two. Neuer shows us some sweeper-keeping by racing out to stop Gacinovic going one-on-one. He was out of his area and seemed to use his shoulder but the referee does not whistle.Â
Better from Frankfurt who try to knock the ball over the top and commit enough men forward to show that they know Bayern’s Achilles heel.Â
Trapp can’t even punt the ball forward without Perisic and Lewandowski and Coman surrounding him. Must be like trying to play in a wardrobe.Â Â
Martin Keown, for it is he, is unhappy with Kostic’s meekness. Wants him to get more involved. There’s no ball up toÂ him, though. Toure brings it out ofÂ defence but so quick is the Bayern press that, hounded, he has to play it back top the keeper. It’s only when Lewandowski overdoes the pressing that they get any respite.Â
Perisic has a dig from 22 yards, an easy one for Trapp. Lewandowski looks exasperated by his choice. He was in a great position in the box.Â
Bayern Munich at their clinical best ð¥Leon Goretzka with a superb finish after Thomas Muller does what he does!#BundesligaIsBack pic.twitter.com/N3p4XwCIjo
Terrific goal – excellent work from Perisic to draw Da Costa and play Muller in down the left. Muller had bent his run to get round Toure, picks his head up to scan the box and pulls the cross back to the penalty spot where it’s met by Goretzka on the run and half-volley and he buries it.Â
In the second attacking phase after a competently defended corner Kimmich bullocks down the right and stands up a cross to the near post that Pavard meets and boshes straight at Trapp who slaps it away.Â
Lewandowski rattles the crossbar with a left-foot half volley from the corner. Such power that the bar continues to hum like a tuning fork for half a minute. What a player he is.Â
Da Costa, a right-back playing on the right of midfield. loses the ball with a clumsy pass and Davies pounces, sprinting up the left but slipping just before he can nail his cross-shot. The ball hits a defender and bobbles out for a corner.Â
N’Dicka’s mistake on the left allows Bayern to penetrate behind him with Coman and Muller exploiting the mistake. Muller turns back on to his let foot to arc an inswinger towards the back post but Lewandowski wanted him to hit it first time with his right so wasn’t best placed. He still managed to earn a corner with a battling header. Eintracht defend it well.Â
Toure telescopes out his right leg to wrap it around Perisic in a bid to win the ball. Perisic topples over it.Â
Coman turns on the overdrive and flies down the right wing, skinning N’Dicka until he falls over his own feet and lands virtually face first in the box. He’ll have a grass burn on his nose.Â
More 4-2-3-1 from Eintracht than 4-5-1 at the moment. Ilsanker gets two bites at a clearance and sends the second 60 yards over the top for Gacinovic to chase. Alaba is quick enough to stop him making anything of it.Â
And, after a minute’s silence for the victims of the pandemic, we’re off. Lewandowski is penalised for wandering offside before chasing a long pass from Pavard.Â
Bayern MunichÂ Neuer; Pavard, Boateng, Alaba, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Perisic, Muller, Coman;Â Lewandowski.SubstitutesÂ Ulreich, Odriozola, Martinez, Cuisance, Hernandez, Gnabry, Mai, Batista, Meier, Zirkzee.
Eintracht Frankfurt Trapp; Toure, Ilsanker, Hinteregger, NâDicka; Gelson Fernandes, Rode; Da Costa, Gacinovic, Kostic; Andre Silva.SubstitutesÂ Ronnow, Hasebe, Durm, De Guzman, Sow, Kamada, Torro, Chandler, Dost.
Welcome to coverage of Bayern Munich versus Eintracht Frankfurt as the champions and leaders take on the team in 15th. The visitors to the Allianz are one reason for Bayern’s revival, the 5-1 drubbing in November hastening the departure of Niko Kovac after a year of milky management. Eintracht were the club Kovac left for Bayern in 2018 but despite winning the title in a poor year as far as competitiveness went, he never convinced in the role. Under his deputy Hansi Flick, Bayern have recovered their fluency and poise and will be nailed on for an eighth successive title if they win Tuesday’s Klassiker against second-placed Dortmund.
Eintracht, managed by Bild’s coach of the 2018-19 season Adi Hutter, who took them to the Europa League semi-final which they eventually lost only on penalties against Chelsea, brought in about Â£110m when they sold Luka Jovic, Sebastian Haller, Ante RebicÂ et al in the summer and spent about half of it. They have lost four on the spin, conceding 13 goals in the process but Bas Dost, who has been a goal machine wherever he laid his hat, is back and fit after missing 17 games with various groin problems but made little impact against Borussia Monchengladbach in last week’s 3-1 defeat. Andre Silva, another AC Milan transfer dud, has not taken his chance to shine in Dost’s absence. Â
Since beating Bayern they have lost 10 of their intervening 15 matches but look safe enough with a 10-point cushion to Werder in 17th and five points to Fortuna in the play-off place. Bayern might have revenge in their hearts as they make their home bow after the resumption. The 5-1 defeat was broadly the result of Jerome Boateng’s early red card but with Messrs Coman, Lewandowski and Muller in stellar form, the content of their hearts will not matter all that much. Leaky Eintracht are there for the taking.Â
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World news – GB – Bayern Munich survive second-half scare to thrash Eintracht Frankfurt and restore four-point lead