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Hoffenheim 1 Bayern 2

Last-gasp triumph for ten-man Reds

Bayern recovered well from the shock of conceding the joint-fastest goal in Bundesliga history and continued their perfect start to the 2015/16 campaign with a 2-1 victory away to TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday, taking the champions onto maximum points from their first two matches. In a closely-fought encounter, Munich deservedly sealed the victory via Robert Lewandowski’s last-minute winner and despite losing Jerome Boateng to a second yellow card with quarter of an hour still to play.

The 30,150 full house at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim witnessed a historic start to the game when Kevin Volland stunned the champions with the opening goal after just nine seconds. Pep Guardiola’s men fought their way back into it and Thomas Müller levelled after 41 minutes, with Arturo Vidal hitting the angle of post and bar in the second half.

Bayern suffered a blow with Boateng’s 73rd-minute sending off for handball in the box, but Hoffenheim’s Eugen Polanski missed the ensuing penalty. Lewandowski was in exactly the right place to side-foot the last-gasp winner as the visitors claimed a narrow but merited victory.

The result means the Reds retain top spot in the embryonic league table on six points, level with Leverkusen but ahead of the Rhineland club on goal difference. And second-placed Bayer are the visitors to the Allianz Arena when the Bavarians return to action in the league next Saturday evening.

Götze in for Lewandowski

Bayern boss Guardiola made one change to the team that beat Hamburg 5-0 on opening day, Mario Götze taking over from Lewandowski in attack. The Polish marksman began on the bench alongside Thiago, with Sebastian Rode making a first squad appearance in the league this term.

It meant the champions began with Manual Neuer in goal, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Mehdi Benatia and captain Philipp Lahm in defence, Xabi Alonso in the holding role, Arjen Robben, Arturo Vidal, Müller and Douglas Costa in midfield, and Götze up front.

Early shock, Reds recover

The match started in the worst possible fashion for Guardiola’s men as they fell behind a mere nine seconds after referee Tobias Stieler whistled play underway, Volland capitalising on a mix-up between Alaba and Boateng to steer a simple finish past Neuer.

The Reds quickly shook off the early setback and Costa warmed TSG keeper Oliver Baumann’s gloves on ten minutes, but Markus Gisdol’s home team scrapped for every inch of ground and for all Costa and Robben’s penetrative runs down the flanks, clear-cut chances were hard to come by.

Munich upped the tempo on the half-hour and Baumann made an expert save to push away Müller’s header from Lahm’s cross, before Müller himself struck the outside of the post with a fierce drive.

There was a blow for the visitors on 36 minutes when Benatia limped off clutching his thigh, the Moroccan’s place going to Rafinha, but Bayern were level four minutes before the break when Müller stabbed home his third goal of the season after Baumann could only parry Costa’s cross-shot.

Hectic second period, last-gasp winner

Costa also had the first chance of the second half but the summer signing shanked his effort into the crowd from Götze’s lay-off. Thiago took over from Robben on the hour, before the ever-lively Costa caused panic in the home box and Vidal curled a shot against the angle of post and bar after a fine passing move.

Lewandowski entered the fray for Lahm midway through the second period and FCB urgently went in search of a second goal, with Müller shooting straight at Baumann, the keeper saving superbly from Vidal, and the always-dangerous Müller steering a chance just wide of the far post.

The match took a dramatic twist on 73 minutes when Boateng saw a second yellow for handball in the box as part of a defensive wall, but Polanski struck the ensuing penalty against the post and Alaba completed the clearance.

Despite the setback of going a man down FCB pressed for a winner but Müller’s effort was controversially disallowed for handball. Still Munich poured forward, but Baumann made an exceptional save from the charging Lewandowski and Müller headed just wide, before the Polish striker won it in the last minute with a close-range finish from Costa’s cross.

Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley

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