FC Bayern beat RB Leipzig 1-0 on Saturday evening, extending their lead at the top of the table to seven points and taking a giant stride towards their ninth straight Bundesliga title. Leon Goretzka scored the match-winner late in the first half of a very intense match.
The German record champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Benjamin Pavard, Niklas Süle, David Alaba and Lucas Hernández in a back four. Joshua Kimmich and Goretzka featured in a twin holding role behind Leroy Sané, Thomas Müller and Kingsley Coman, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting up front. Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry took over from Goretzka and Coman midway through the second half, Javi Martínez coming on for Sané with ten minutes to go.
The first half was an intense tactical skirmish between two evenly-matched sides. Leipzig dominated possession in the first half-hour but both sides had half-chances. RB's Emil Forsberg saw two efforts go wide before a Coman effort was blocked, Choupo-Moting firing wide on the rebound. A Coman centre soon found Müller at the near post, but the native Bavarian could not turn in goalwards.
Munich slowly but surely asserted their authority now, and Kimmich's through-ball soon found Müller, who sidestepped an opponent before inviting Goretzka to blast home from 15 yards. Keeper Peter Gulácsi proved equal to a Choupo-Moting header, and the sides turned round with Bayern a goal to the good.
Leipzig hit the gas
Leipzig went back onto the front foot after the restart, Christopher Nkunku, Marcel Sabitzer and Dani Olmo firing wide before the latter hit the side-netting. Neuer tipped a Sabitzer rocket over the bar before the pace dropped.
Sub Musiala fired over the bar, Neuer beating Yussuf Poulsen to a through-ball at the other end. Müller saw an effort saved before Bayern skilfully ran down the clock, Choupo-Moting testing Gulácsi and Sabitzer miscuing from distance before match official Daniel Siebert blew for full-time.
The result means FCB have 64 points from 27 matches, seven clear of the men from Saxony. The Bavarians will be back in action on Wednesday, when they entertain Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Gulácsi - Mukiele, Orban, Upamecano, Klostermann - Adams (Hwang 82), Sabitzer - Nkunku, Olmo (Poulsen 73, Konaté 88), Haidara (Sørloth 73) - Forsberg (Kluivert 46)
Tschauner, Martínez - Samardzic, Henrichs
Neuer - Pavard, Süle, Alaba, Hernández - Kimmich, Goretzka (Musiala 72) - Sané (Martínez 81), Müller, Coman (Gnabry 72) - Choupo-Moting
Nübel – Sarr, Roca, Nianzou, Dantas, Scott
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
0-1 Goretzka (38)
Mukiele, Sabitzer, Upamecano / Kimmich, Hernández