In their first home match against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, Union Berlin were swept aside comfortably by the league-leaders, losing 2-0 in what transpired to be a lacklustre affair. In what would have been a historic match for Union fans – had they been in attendance at Stadion An der Alten Försterei, the Bundesliga new-boys were beaten comfortably courtesy of goals from Robert Lewandowski and Benjamin Pavard.
Despite starting the opening exchanges on the front foot, Union rarely threatened Manuel Neuer in the Bayern net. After seventeen minutes, the league leaders thought they had taken the lead though Thomas Müller – only for the goal to be disallowed, correctly, by the video assistant referee. The German midfielder was offside when Leon Goretzka sent a headed shot goal-bound, needlessly tapping the ball home at great cost for the travelling side.
Bayern didn’t have to wait long to get on the scoresheet, Lewandowski netted from the penalty seven minutes before the break. After Neven Subotic upended Goretzka in the box, the outcome was inevitable. Hopping and stuttering in his run-up, Lewandowski slotted the ball calmly into the Union net, earning the visitors a deserved lead.
Alphonso Davies was busy for the Bavarian giants from left back
The match followed a familiar pattern after the break. Hansi Flick’s side controlled the game’s tempo, dominating possession, keeping their hosts at bay with relative ease. Alphonso Davies was characteristically busy for the Bavarian giants from left back, racing up and down the flank to the continual anguish of the Union Berlin defence.
In the centre of the park, Thiago was – once again – the heartbeat of Bayern’s play. Poised in possession, the Spaniard was rarely troubled by Union’s deep-block, stringing passes into the wide areas with relative ease. It was, however, a set-piece supplied by Joshua Kimmich that put the game out of the hosts’ reach.
With just ten minutes remaining, the German full back hoisted a perfectly-weighted cross onto the edge of the six yard box, allowing Pavard to fire a driven header into the bottom right corner. After doubling their lead, Bayern’s play slowed – content with keeping possession in the midfield, safe in the knowledge that Union’s lack of pace meant that the hosts were unlikely to punish them on the break.
Bayern’s response to Dortmund’s 4-0 win over Schalke was faultless
With Union already on the cusp of safety, the match was always likely to be more important to Bayern’s destiny than their hosts; it showed. In what was a typically professional performance from Bayern, the Bundesliga champions looked entirely at ease. Davies, a product of Vancouver Whitecaps’ academy, was the standout performer for the travelling side, the Canadian international was highly impressive from the left back.
Bayern Munich’s response to Borussia Dortmund’s 4-0 win over Schalke was faultless. Flick’s side have restored their four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, ensuring that they remain in the drivers’ seat ahead of Der Klassiker in ten day’s time. After RB Leipzig’s draw against Freiburg on Saturday afternoon, the Bundesliga title race has a familiar quality once again. For now, it seems likely that either Dortmund or Munich were hoist that famous shield next month.