- 62' Javi Martínez
- 62' Javi Martínez
FC Bayern beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 on Saturday afternoon, moving equal on points with Borussia Dortmund overnight. Javi Martínez made the difference in a contest between two evenly-matched sides when he headed home the match-winner after the hour mark.
The German record champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba in a back four. Leon Goretzka and Martínez featured in a twin holding role behind Serge Gnabry, James and Franck Ribéry, with Robert Lewandowski as lone striker.
Lack of bite
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw two evenly-matched sides contest a dour first half. Bayern dominated possession but lacked inspiration against the compact visitors. Kimmich saw an effort blocked before Hertha's Davie Selke had the ball in the back of the net, but the linesman had his flag up for offside.
The very industrious Kimmich fired just wide before Boateng made a crucial clearance following a Salomon Kalou cross. Berlin netminder Rune Jarstein proved equal to a Ribéry shot, and the contest was goalless at half-time.
Javi gets the winner – Concern for Kingsley
Niko Kovac brought on Thiago for Goretzka in an effort to raise the momentum. Hertha's Niklas Stark beat Lewandowski to a Kimmich cross before Bayern's right-back kept the scores level when he blocked a Selke effort. Kingsley Coman took over from Ribéry before Bayern took the lead, and it was telling that it came from a set-piece. Martínez made the difference when he rose high to head home a James corner.
Bayern were in for a shock when Coman, who had just been brought on, limped off clutching his thigh, Thomas Müller replacing the Frenchman. The men from the capital upped the pressure but failed to create anything of attacking note, and they were reduced to ten men when Karim Rekik was sent off for a collision with Lewandowski. Alaba and Müller failed to put the game to bed in the closing stages, a privilege ultimately reserved for match official Harm Osmers.
The result means Bayern have 51 points from 23 matches, equal on points with Dortmund, who entertain Leverkusen on Sunday. The Bavarians will be back in action next Saturday, when they travel to face Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
Neuer - Kimmich, Süle, Boateng, Alaba - Goretzka (Thiago 46), Martínez - Gnabry, James, Ribéry (Coman 58, Müller 67) - Lewandowski
Ulreich - Rafinha, Sanches, Davies
Jarstein - Stark, Lustenberger, Rekik - Lazaro, Grujic, Maier (Dardai 79), Mittelstädt - Duda - Selke, Kalou (Jastrzembski 79)
Kraft - Skjelbred, Darida, Klünter, Baak
Harm Osmers (Hannover)
1-0 Martínez (62)
Kimmich, James / -
- / Rekik