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FCB held in Frankfurt

Goalless stalemate ends Reds’ record streak

Bayern’s record ten-game winning run in the Bundesliga came to an end on Friday night when the runaway leaders were held to a goalless away draw by ultra-defensive Eintracht Frankfurt. It is the first time Munich have dropped points in the league this term but Pep Guardiola's team still comfortably top the standings and remain undefeated in domestic competition this season.

The 51,500 capacity crowd at the Commerzbank Arena saw the home team, reeling from an embarrassing DFB Cup exit to third division Aue on Tuesday, park the proverbial bus on their home turf and frustrate the champions in the first half with their aggressive and occasionally negative tactics. The second period was a much livelier affair with both teams going for the win, but Robert Lewandowski had a goal ruled out for offside in the frenzied final minutes and Frankfurt clung on for a hard-earned but scarcely deserved draw.

The result means Guardiola’s men hold an eight-point lead at the top of the table going into the rest of the matchday, as the champions now have 31 points, with Dortmund second on 23 and Schalke a place further back on 19. In their next match the Bavarians seek to avenge their solitary defeat of term when Arsenal visit the Allianz Arena in the Champions League on Wednesday, before the South German derby against Stuttgart in Munich a week on Saturday.

Alaba, Thiago and Müller rested

Guardiola made three changes to the team that triumphed 3-1 away to Wolfsburg in the cup last Tuesday with Rafinha, Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben replacing David Alaba, Thiago and Thomas Müller, who all took seats on the bench.

A couple of FCB men passed personal milestones with Philipp Lahm chalking up a remarkable 450 games for the men in red, and Jerome Boateng making his 200th appearance in the German top flight.

The champions started with Manual Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Boateng, Javi Martinez and captain Lahm in a conventional back four, Xabi Alonso in the holding role, Vidal in central attacking midfield, Robben and Kingsley Coman on the wings, and Douglas Costa and Lewandowski as the nominal front two.

Tough going in the first half

Eintracht’s former 1860 Munich man Stefan Aigner set a new record for the current Bundesliga season by clattering into Rafinha and collecting a yellow card only 20 seconds after referee Daniel Siebert whistled the match underway, but that set the pattern for the first half-hour with Armin Veh’s team pulling every player back behind the ball and aggressively crowding their own final third.

It meant chances were hard to come by at first, although Frankfurt’s Slovakia-born Finland national keeper Lukas Hradecky was still called into action with a one-handed save from Vidal’s header, a rush from goal to deny Robben, and a relatively simple take from Lewandowski’s looping header.

Martinez came closest to opening the scoring with a glancing header from a Robben free-kick on the half-hour and Lewandowski shot over the bar, but for all Munich’s territorial domination the shot count after the goalless first half was a relatively disappointing 3-1 to the champions.

End-to-end second period

The Reds came out in determined mood after the break with Lewandowski and Costa immediately forcing errors from centre-backs David Abraham and Carlos Zambrano, but Hradecky saved Costa’s low drive. Müller took over from Rafinha six minutes after the restart, but Eintracht suddenly fashioned a couple of chances with Boateng just beating Alex Meier to the loose ball following a corner and Neuer saving well from Marc Stendera after the keeper’s own miskicked clearance.

There were half-chances at both ends for a spell but both Coman and Stendera fired wide and Lewandowski aimed a header too high. Thiago replaced Coman in the 65th minute, with Lahm finding no takers for his deft pass into the six-yard box and Abraham heading over Neuer’s crossbar.

Alaba came on for Lahm in the 75th minute, with Lewandowski coming up just inches short of Robben’s floated free-kick and then shooting past the upright from the Dutchman’s excellent through ball, with Alaba firing over the bar in the frantic closing stages and Lewandowski even forcing the ball past Hradecky a minute from time, but the striker was ruled offside and the contest ended goalless.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley