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VfL Wolfsburg 1 Bayern 1

Bayern rue missed chances and late leveller

Thomas Müller’s early goal proved not enough to earn the restart win Bayern so craved after Sascha Riether levelled for Wolfsburg in the dying minutes of a roistering Bundesliga encounter, including a breathless first period with shots off the bar and missed penalties at both ends, and a memorable Bundesliga debut for 22-year-old FCB keeper Thomas Kraft.

The 30,000 full house at the Volkswagen Arena saw the champions roar off the blocks and take a seventh-minute lead through Müller from a Kraft assist, but Philipp Lahm missed a penalty and Franck Ribery hobbled off injured in a dramatic spell midway through the first half, which also saw Arjen Robben sent on for his long-awaited first appearance of the season.

Bayern’s dominance suddenly evaporated in the spell before the break, but Louis van Gaal’s side still led at the interval after Diego had a goal disallowed for offside and Kraft fisted Grafite’s penalty onto the crossbar. The frenetic pace died down considerably in the second period as the sides cancelled each other out, but just as Müller’s goal seemed likely to settle it, Sascha Riether poked home a fortunate equaliser to snatch a point for the Wolves.

The frustrating draw means Van Gaal’s men remain fifth in the standings on 30 points from 18 games, now 16 points off leaders Dortmund but only three adrift of Mainz and Leverkusen in second and third. The Bavarians’ next Bundesliga appointment is a week from now on 22 January at home to Kaiserslautern, followed by a DFB Cup quarter-final tie away to Aachen on 26 January.