FC Bayern were held to a 1-1 draw by SC Freiburg on Saturday afternoon. The Bavarians struggled against the visitors' dogged defending for a long time, Serge Gnabry scoring the opener following a fine solo with ten minutes to go, but Lucas Höler levelled late.
The German record champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Rafinha, Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba in a back four. Joshua Kimmich moved from right-back to fill the holding role this time. Arjen Robben, Renato Sanches, James and Gnabry featured in midfield, with Robert Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward. Franck Ribéry and Thomas Müller took over from Robben and James midway through the second half, Leon Goretzka coming on for Gnabry in the closing stages.
No way through
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the hosts go straight onto the front foot. A perceptive Rafinha through-ball found James in the box, but the Colombian was dispossessed in the box before Gnabry saw an effort blocked, Lewandowski failing to connect to a dangerous Alaba cross. Freiburg defended very deep, Bayern camping out in their opponents' half but lacking the attacking thrust to break Freiburg down.
The German record champions increasingly resorted to efforts from distance, but James and Gnabry saw their shots blocked, Süle miscuing. Lewandowski soon ghosted opast the rearguard, but netminder Alexander Schwolow proved equal to his effort from a tight angle. Another fine save against Robben meant the contest was goalless at half-time.
Christian Streich's troops woke up after the interval, although the first chance fell to Bayern, James failing to convert a fine Alaba cross. The crowd fell silent when Freiburg had the ball in the back of the net, Tim Kleindienst connecting with a free-kick to head past Neuer, who had been little more than a spectator in the first half, but the linesman had his flag up for offside. Match official Felix Zwayer soon turned down Bayern's very good penalty shout for handball before James hit the side-netting.
Bayern remained dominant but still failed to find the final ball through the clutter of Freiburg players ahead of them. Lewandowski drew a strong save from Schwolow, who tipped the ball onto the bar, but a goal would not have counted because of a foul anyway. It took Bayern's outstanding individual quality to open the scoring, Serge Gnabry shining with a solo before slotting past Schwolow from 12 yards.
The visitors upped the ante, Nicolas Höfler seeing a shot blocked, but Bayern found themselves shocked when Höler beat Bayern's rearguard to a cross from the left and scored a stoppage-time equaliser. Bayern went looking for a reply, but Freiburg were solid in defence, and Zwayer blew for full-time after Rafinha rifled wide from 18 yards.
The result means Bayern have 20 points from ten matches. Kovac' troops will be back in action in four days, when they entertain AEK in the Champions League before travelling to face Borussia Dortmund in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
Neuer – Rafinha, Süle, Boateng, Alaba – Kimmich – Robben (Ribéry 63), Sanches, James (Müller 71), Gnabry (Goretzka 83) – Lewandowski
Ulreich – Wagner, Hummels, Martínez
Schwolow – Stenzel, Gulde, Heintz, Günter – Haberer, Koch, Höfler, Frantz (Terrazzino 67) – Höler (Lienhart 90), Kleindienst (Waldschmidt 83)
Flekken – Kammerbauer, Ravet, Okoroji
Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
1-0 Gnabry (80), 1-1 Höler (89)
Rafinha / Schwolow