- 52' Corentin Tolisso
- 52' Corentin Tolisso
FC Bayern beat Hamburg 1-0 on Saturday and are now level on points with Dortmund at the top of the table. Corentin Tolisso's 52nd-minute match-winner yielded three crucial points against the home side, who made a real fist of it but went a man down shortly before half-time. The Bavarians had numerous chances after the restart, Thiago and Tolisso hitting the woodwork, but the Frenchman's effort remained the only one that found the net on Saturday.
Bayern started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Rafinha, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Tolisso and Arturo Vidal anchored a midfield featuring Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman out wide and James in the playmaking role, with Robert Lewandowski as the lone striker.
Jupp Heynckes shuffled his deck, making five changes to the team that saw off Celtic in midweek. Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Sebastian Rudy, Thiago and Thomas Müller gave way to Rafinha, Süle, Vidal, James and Tolisso.
Dour first half
The 57,000 capacity crowd at the Volksparkstadion saw a dour midfield struggle in the first half. Chances proved few and far between with Hamburg pressing high up the field and Bayern's attacks uninspiring against the home side's dogged defending. Coman teed up Robben after 20 minutes, but the Dutchman wearing the armband hit the side-netting. Ulreich was the busier of the two keepers around the half-hour, and the contest was disrupted a number of times as tempers flared.
The touch of niggle culminated in a red card when Coman charged down the right wing late into the first half, Hamburg's Gideon Jung resorting to a bad foul to stop the galloping winger, prompting match official Marco Korb to brandish a straight red card.
Twice the woodwork – but scored one, won one
Heynckes duly played his first card, Thomas Müller taking over from James. The game sprang to life after the break and the first gilt-edged chance of the night came after 47 minutes when a deflected Vidal effort went just wide. The record champions remained on the front foot as the decimated home side were unable to keep up their early pressing. Bayern's pressure paid off when Müller got hold of the ball following a mix-up in the box, inviting Tolisso to tap in. Hamburg almost replied immediately, when Süle blocked the ball before Aaron Hunt drew a strong save from Ulreich.
Müller's night was over after only ten minutes when he had to be replaced with a thigh injury, Thiago entering the contest. Hamburg increasingly parked the bus with Heynckes' troops camping out in their opponents' half. Thiago's curled 20-yarder crashed off the post midway through the second period before a Lewandowski effort was blocked and Hummels miscued a header. Hamburg were reeling now, Tolisso's header hitting the post and a spectacular Robben volley drifting wide, before Fritz blew for full-time.
The result means Bayern have 20 points from nine matches and are now equal on points with table-toppers Borussia Dortmund, who drew away to Frankfurt earlier on Saturday. The Reds next face RB Leipzig twice, away in the DFB Cup on Wednesday and in a Bundesliga home match next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Mathenia - Papadopoulos, Mavraj, van Drongelen (Ito 76) - Diekmeier, Jung, Sakai, Santos - Hahn (Kostic 76), Hunt (Holtby 62) - Wood
Pollersbeck, Schipplock, Waldschmidt, Walace
Ulreich - Rafinha, Süle, Hummels, Alaba - Tolisso, Vidal - Robben, James (Müller 46, Thiago 55), Coman (Kimmich 90+2) - Lewandowski
Starke, Boateng, Rudy, Wriedt
Marco Fritz (Korb)
0-1 Tolisso (52)
Sakai / James, Tolisso
Jung / -