FC Bayern beat Union Berlin 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, reclaiming top spot in the Bundesliga. Benjamin Pavard handed Bayern the lead early in the first half. Robert Lewandowski doubled the advantage after the restart before Manuel Neuer saved a penalty from Sebastian Andersson. Sebastian Polter pulled one back from the penalty spot with five minutes to go, but Bayern went on to seal a deserved victory.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Pavard, Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba in a back four. Thiago anchored a midfield featuring Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller, Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perišić, with hitman Lewandowski up front. Serge Gnabry, Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka took over from Coman, Perišić and Coutinho in the second half.
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a slow start to the game, with Bayern dominating possession and the promoted side's game plan patently centred on defence. The men from the capital did their job well for large spells in the first half, but Pavard handed Bayern the lead when keeper Rafal Gikiewicz punched a free-kick, the world champion volleying into the empty net from 20 yards.
Gikiewicz proved equal to a Coman effort before Coutinho only just failed to connect with a Müller cross. The Brazilian saw an effort saved, but chances proved few and far between, and when match official Marco Fritz blew for half-time only Pavard's volley separated the sides.
Entertaining second half
The game sprang to life after the restart, Union opening up. Christopher Lanz drew a save from Neuer before Coman miscued a curler at the other end. The hosts twisted the knife when Lewandowski slotted past Gikiewicz. The Poland captain set a new record, scoring in each of the first nine matches of a campaign.
The minnows were awarded a penalty for handball, Neuer crucially making an outstanding save against Andersson. Sub Gnabry and Müller drew saves from Gikiewicz. Bayern had the ball in the back of the net for a third time when Lewandowski tapped in, but the goal was disallowed for offside following VAR intervention. Union were awarded another penalty, Polter coolly converting. Munich went looking to close it out, but Gikiewicz tipped a Goretzka effort over the bar, and Fritz blew for full-time.
The result means Bayern have 18 points from nine matches, topping the table, although Gladbach and Wolfsburg still have to play. The Bavarians will be back in action in just three days, when they travel to face VfL Bochum in the DFB Cup.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
- See our live ticker to relive the match action
Neuer - Kimmich, Pavard, Boateng, Alaba - Thiago - Müller, Coutinho (Goretzka 86) - Coman (Gnabry 65), Lewandowski, Perišić (Tolisso 77)
Ulreich - Alaba, Mai, Cuisance
Gikiewicz - Trimmel, Friedrich, Subotic, Lenz - F. Kroos (Becker 60), Andrich - Ingvartsen (Ujah 66), Gentner, Bülter - Andersson (Polter 66)
Nicolas - Ryerson, Parensen, Schmiedebach, Schlotterbeck, Mees
Marco Fritz (Korb)
1-0 Pavard (13), 2-0 Lewandowski (53), 2-1 Polter (86, pen)
- / Andrich
Neuer saves penalty from Andersson (58)