Below-par FC Bayern fell to a 2-1 loss at RB Leipzig on Sunday evening. Sandro Wagner opened the scoring early in the first half, but the home side upped the pressure, Naby Keita scoring a deserved equaliser before the break. Timo Werner put the hosts in front before the hour mark. Bayern regained their composure and camped out in their opponents' half in the last quarter-hour but failed to make their late pressure count.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich between the sticks and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Sebastian Rudy anchored a midfield featuring Thomas Müller, Arturo Vidal, James and Juan Bernat, with Wagner as lone striker.
Jupp Heynckes shuffled his deck, making six changes to the XI that beat Besiktas on Wednesday. Kimmich and Süle replaced Rafinha and Jerome Boateng in defence, with Rudy, James, Bernat and Wagner taking over from Javi Martinez, Thiago, Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandowski.
Reds score but ease off
The capacity 42,558 crowd in Leipzig saw both sides signal their intent from the off, but stray passing both spoiled promising moves and caused danger at either end. Bernat soon charged down the left, but Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate caught up with him and defused the situation. Ulreich was called into action at the other end when he beat Bruma to the ball after Kimmich was dispossessed. Bayern scored the opener when James' pinpoint cross found the unmarked Wagner, the winter signing nodding past goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.
But the hosts went looking for the equaliser and enjoyed a sustained spell in command. Bayern had Ulreich to thank for preserving the lead when he made two saves to deny Yussuf Poulsen, who beat the rearguard to a long ball. A Bruma free-kick forced Bayern's shot-stopper into another strong intervention before Ulreich deflected a Werner effort from a tight angle, Süle acrobatically scrambling off the goal-line.
A goal was coming and arrived when Süle's brave block from Werner only fell to Naby Keita, who slotted the rebound past Ulreich. Kevin Kampl miscued a free-kick from 20 yards, Ulreich beating Keita to the ball before match official Marco Fritz blew for half-time.
No reward for late pressure
The sides felt each other out in the first ten minutes of the second half. The day turned sour, though, when Werner latched onto a long ball, slotting past Ulreich. The Germany striker hit the side-netting from a tight angle before Hummels warmed Gulacsi's gloves with a snap shot. Heynckes played his first card, Franck Ribery taking over from Bernat on the left wing. A Kimmich cross found Vidal in the box, but the Chilean mistimed his jump and nodded over from just a few yards away.
Robert Lewandowski and Rafinha came on for James and Kimmich in the closing minutes. Hummels miscued a header as Bayern upped the ante, the hosts increasingly parking the bus. Ilsanker blocked a Vidal cross before a Wagner effort was deflected wide as the Bavarians huffed and puffed but failed to find an equaliser.
The result means Bayern have 66 points from 27 matches and remain six points from retaining their title. A large number of Bayern players will be away on national team duty during the international break before the Reds return to action on 31 March, when they entertain Borussia Dortmund in a mouth-watering heavyweight clash.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Gulacsi - Laimer, Konaté, Upamecano, Ilsanker - Kampl, Demme, Keita (Forsberg 68'), Bruma - Poulsen, Sabitzer (Werner 10') (Augustin 83')
Mvogo, Bernardo, Orban, Lookman
Ulreich - Kimmich (Rafinha 78'), Süle, Hummels, Alaba - Rudy - Müller, Vidal, James (Lewandowski 72'), Bernat (Ribery 61') - Wagner
Starke, Boateng, Martinez, Shabani
Marco Fritz (Korb)
0-1 Wagner (12'), 1-1 Keita (37'), 2-1 Werner (56')
Kampl, Keita, Gulacsi / Rudy, Süle, Ribery, Lewandowski