FC Bayern beat SC Paderborn 3-2 on Saturday, going top of the table. Serge Gnabry handed Bayern an early lead, and the visitors created a string of first-half chances but were very wasteful in front of goal. Philippe Coutinho doubled the lead after half-time, sub Kai Pröger pulling one back before Robert Lewandowski netted with ten minutes to go. Paderborn's Jamilu Collins made it exciting again, but Bayern ultimately saw it through against the brave minnows.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng and Lucas Hernández in a back four. Thiago and Joshua Kimmich anchored a midfield featuring Gnabry, Coutinho and Kingsley Coman, with Lewandowski as sole striker. Javi Martínez and Alphonso Davies took over from Thiago and Hernández at half-time, Thomas Müller coming on for Robert Lewandowski in the closing stages.
Narrow lead for dominant but wasteful Reds
The 15,000 full house at the Benteler Arena saw the German record champions go straight onto the front foot. Gnabry raced past the rearguard and had only netminder Jannik Huth to beat, but he squared to Lewandowski, who slotted inches wide. Coutinho and Coman saw their efforts go over the bar, but Bayern took the lead when Coutinho lobbed a ball with such perfect weight that it teased Huth out of his goal but also allowed Gnabry to slot home.
Paderborn were surprisingly bold throughout, looking to push forward, but it also made them vulnerable at the back, Gnabry seeing another effort deflected. The biggest scare for Bayern came from one of their own players when Thiago mishit a back pass that evaded Neuer and hit the side-netting. Coman miscued a curler before Huth parried a Lewandowski effort, Coutinho seeing the rebound blocked. Gnabry skied another shot, and when match official Felix Zwayer blew for half-time, the Bavarians had the lead but also knew the game could have been over if they had not been so wasteful.
Thrilling second half
Proceedings were similar after the restart, Coutinho seeing a shot blocked. The introduction of Martínez proved vital in the second goal. His positional discipline allowed Kimmich to push forward regularly, and Bayern finally twisted the knife when the latter's defence-splitting pass found Gnabry, whose square pass invited Coutinho to tap in. Gnabry drew a fine save from Huth before volleying over the bar, but Paderborn pulled one back against the run of play when sub Pröger beat Neuer from 18 yards.
The goal boosted the minnows, Pröger firing wide before Neuer comfortably saved from Klaus Gjasula, but Bayern restored their two-goal lead when Süle launched a long pass from defence, Lewandowski being quickest to react and beating Huth, setting a new record with his tenth goal in six league matches. Collins unleashed a belter from distance that screamed its way into the net and Paderborn went looking for an equaliser, but Bayern weathered the storm, and Zwayer blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto 14 points from six matches,now topping the table as Leipzig lost to Schalke. The Bavarians will be back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to face Tottenham in a mouth-watering Champions League clash.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Huth – Dräger, Kilian, Hünemeier, Collins – Oliveira Souza (Ritter 73), Vasiliadis, Gjasula (Shelton 84), Antwi-Adjei – Zolinski (Pröger 62), Michel
Zingerle – Strohdiek, Sabiri, Jans, Mamba, Holtmann
Neuer – Pavard, Süle, Boateng, Hernández (Davies 46) – Thiago (Martínez 46), Kimmich – Gnabry, Coutinho, Coman – Lewandowski (Müller 80)
Ulreich – Cuisance, Tolisso, Alaba
Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
0-1 Gnabry (15), 0-2 Coutinho (55), 1-2 Pröger (68), 1-3 Lewandowski (79), 2-3 Collins (84)
Vasiliadis / Süle