FC Bayern beat SC Paderborn 3-2 on Friday night, consolidating their lead in the table. Serge Gnabry scored the opener midway through the first half but Dennis Srbeny levelled the scores before half-time. Robert Lewandowski restored the lead after the hour mark, but the goal was soon cancelled out by Sven Michel. Lewandowski sent the Allianz Arena into raptures when he rounded off his brace in the closing stages, sealing three crucial points.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal behind a back three of Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba and Lucas Hernández, as Hansi Flick shuffled his deck due to one-match bans for Jérôme Boateng and Benjamin Pavard. Álvaro Odriozola, Thiago, Corentin Tolisso and Alphonso Davies featured in midfield, with Gnabry and Philippe Coutinho out wide and Lewandowski up front. Kingsley Coman and Thomas Müller came on for Odriozola and Coutinho after the hour, Joshua Zirkzee taking over from Tolisso in the closing stages.
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Bayern in the driving seat, but only the linesman's offside flag prevented an early shock when Streli Mamba beat Neuer. Bayern's first chance came when an Odriozola cross found Lewandowski, who headed wide. Odriozola, who was very industrious on his starting debut, soon tried to find Lewandowski again but his cross evaded the Poland captain this time.
It took individual quality to break the deadlock, Gnabry shining with fine control against a number of defenders before slotting home. The Germany international crowned a milestone match as he made his 100th Bundesliga appearance on Friday. Bayern created a number of half-chances now but often lacked precision in the final third. The reigning champions were in for a setback shortly before half-time, when a through-ball teased Neuer out of his goal, Srbeny beating the keeper and tapping in. The home side went looking for a reply, Paderborn's Christian Strohdiek deflecting a Tolisso cross onto his own crossbar.
Lewy brace seals three points
Proceedings were similar in the second half. Paderborn netminder Leopold Zingerle made two strong saves against Lewandowski before Neuer proved equal to Michel at the other end. Lewandowski saw another effort blocked, Zingerle denying Coman. Bayern restored the lead when Gnabry raced clear and invited Lewandowski to slot home, but the minnows soon replied, Neuer parrying a Jastrzembski shot before Michel pounced on the rebound.
Lewandowski fired over the bar but soon atoned for his miss, bagging a brace when he dispatched Gnabry's pinpoint square. The two forwards took turns and Gnabry almost put the game to bed following a Lewandwoski pass but saw his effort saved, and match official Markus Schmidt blew for full-time.
The result means Bayern have 49 points from 23 matches, four clear of Leipzig, who face Schalke on Saturday. The Bavarians will be back in action on Tuesday, when they travel to face Chelsea in the Champions League Round of 16.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Neuer – Kimmich, Alaba, Hernández - Odriozola (Coman 63), Thiago, Tolisso (Zirkzee 87), Davies - Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coutinho (Müller 63)
Ulreich – Cuisance, Arp, Dajaku, Mai, Batista-Meier
Zingerle – Jans, Strohdiek, Schönlau, Holtmann (Jastrzembski 29) – Pröger, Gjasula, Vasiliadis, Antwi-Adjei – Mamba (Michel 53), Srbeny (Fridjónsson 81)
Huth – Hünemeier, Ritter, Kapić, Dräger, Zolinski
Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)
1-0 Gnabry (25), 1-1 Srbeny (44), 2-1 Lewandowski (70), 2-2 Michel (75), 3-2 Lewandowski (88)
Hernández / Gjasula, Michel