- 20' Arturo Vidal
- 20' Arturo Vidal
FC Bayern beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 on Saturday, sealing the so-called autumn championship, the unofficial accolade awarded to the team at the top of the Bundesliga at the midpoint of the campaign. Arturo Vidal's goal midway through the first half proved the match-winner in a knife-edge contest, Bayern surviving a spell of Frankfurt pressure in the second half and running down the clock.
Bayern started with Tom Starke in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Niklas Süle and Rafinha in a back four. Javi Martínez anchored a midfield featuring Kingsley Coman, Arturo Vidal, James and Franck Ribéry, with Thomas Müller as lone striker.
Jupp Heynckes made six changes to the XI that downed PSG on Tuesday. Boateng and Rafinha replaced Mats Hummels and David Alaba in the back four, Martínez and Vidal taking over from Corentin Tolisso and Sebastian Rudy and Müller coming on for Robert Lewandowski in attack. Starke deputised for Sven Ulreich between the sticks at short notice as the latter sustained a thigh problem when warming up.
The 51,500 capacity crowd who braved icy temperatures and snow at the Commerzbank Arena saw the home side in the driving seat at first, Bayern struggling against their early pressing. The first chance fell to Eintracht when Bayern gave away a free-kick from 20 yards, Starke proving equal to Ante Rebic' effort. The champions slowly but surely got a grip on the contest and took the lead when a brilliantly perceptive Kimmich cross found Vidal at the back stick, the Chilean ghosting past the rearguard to nod in.
Rebic drew a fine save from Starke before a Coman effort hit the side-netting after the Frenchman wriggled his way past three opponents. Frankfurt soon staged a counter, Boateng blocking the industrious Rebic with a strong tackle. Vidal tested Lukas Hradecky, but Frankfurt's netminder proved equal to the Chilean's delicate chip with the half-time whistle imminent.
The second half started like the first one, with Frankfurt going onto the front foot. Heynckes brought on Tolisso for Vidal, who sailed very close to the wind after two heavy challenges. The contest was all but devoid of clear-cut chances after the restart, but Eintracht had more of the ball. Starke saved Sebastian Haller's header before Hradecky beat Ribéry to a Kimmich cross. Alaba now came on for Ribéry.
Match official Harm Osmers gave Frankfurt's Marius Wolf his marching orders, but Osmers changed his mind after taking a closer look at the monitor and showed Wolf a yellow card. Süle blocked Haller in the Bayern box, shining with a crucial tackle. Coman gave way to Lewandowski with ten minutes to go, Martínez clearing a Wolf cross, and Bayern skillfully ran down the clock, taking three crucial points.
The result takes Bayern onto 35 points from 15 Bundesliga matches, eight clear of RB Leipzig, who drew with Mainz. It means Heynckes' troops have wrapped up the Herbstmeisterschaft for the seventh time on the bounce as they can no longer be toppled from their perch in 2017. The Reds are back in action on Wednesday, when they entertain Köln before travelling to face Stuttgart next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Hradecky - Salcedo, Abraham, Falette - Wolf, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Fernandes (Jovic 71), Willems (Tawatha 78) - Barkok (Stendera 82), Haller, Rebic
Zimmermann, Russ, Gacinovic, Hrgota
Starke - Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Süle, Rafinha - Javi Martínez – Coman (Lewandowski 83), Vidal (Tolisso 55), James, Ribéry (Alaba 68) - Müller
Starke, Hummels, Rudy, Wriedt
Harm Osmers (Hannover)
0-1 Vidal (20)
Fernandes, Wolf / Vidal, Rafinha, Müller