FC Bayern Munich has defended its lead in the Bundesliga. In a wild game and despite Joshua Kimmich being sent off, coach Julian Nagelsmann’s team won 4-2 (3-1) at VfL Wolfsburg on matchday 19.
FC Bayern took an early 3-0 lead thanks to goals from Kingsley Coman (9th and 14th) and Thomas Müller (19th). Jakub Kaminski shortened in the 44th minute. After the break, Jamal Musiala only scored to make it 4-1 in the 73rd minute, before Mattias Svanberg made the final score (80th).
Joshua Kimmich saw yellow-red in the 54th.
The victory pushed the Munich pursuers Union Berlin, who had meanwhile passed them thanks to a win against FSV Mainz on Saturday, from the top of the table again. After three draws in a row, FC Bayern won a Bundesliga game for the first time in 2023.
After winning the DFB Cup in Mainz, FC Bayern traveled to Wolfsburg with a badly thinned-out squad: apart from the long-term injuries Manuel Neuer, Noussair Mazraoui, Lucas Hernández and Sadio Mané, Nagelsmann also had to take on the ailing Dayot Upamecano, Ryan Gravenberech and Eric Maxim Forego Choupo-Moting.
In the run-up to the game, Nagelsmann spoke about Manuel Neuer’s explosive interview in which the captain attacked his employer. Click here for the report – and here for all the background information on the cause.
VfL Wolfsburg – FC Bayern Munich: The analysis
After the successful three-man experiment in Mainz, Nagelsmann returned to the usual four-man defense – certainly due to Upamecano’s absence. New signing Joao Cancelo mostly held the line on the right, while Alphonso Davies focused more on the left on the left, leaving the wings to Kingsley Coman.
Although Wolfsburg played well in a wild early phase, Coman gave FC Bayern a 2-0 lead early on with a quick brace. The second goal was particularly worth seeing: a direct acceptance after a great cross from Cancelo, who already prepared his second goal in the second game. In the 19th minute, Thomas Müller headed in a free-kick cross from Joshua Kimmich to make it 3-0.
FC Bayern shone primarily with brutal efficiency (the xG value was only 0.3 despite three goals at the break), but also played well in this phase. Leroy Sané kept dropping down the right flank and supported Kimmich in the build-up game, who was closely marked by Patrick Wimmer.
Wolfsburg coach Niko Kovac reacted in the 30th minute, bringing on Jakub Kaminski for Maxence Lacroix and switching to a back four in defence. The hosts then got back into the game better, and at the same time the lack of concentration increased at Bayern. Ironically, the substitute Kaminski shortened to 1:3 shortly before the break.
After the change of sides, Wolfsburg attacked energetically, but didn’t take advantage of their chances to score. In the middle of this urgent phase, FC Bayern was also decimated by Kimmich’s dismissal. Nagelsmann then brought Serge Gnabry, Mathys Tel and Josip Stanisic for Coman, Sané and Thomas Müller.
Strangely enough, Wolfsburg’s pressure eased off a bit in the majority, Jamal Musiala even completed a dream solo to make it 4:1. In a wild final phase, Wolfsburg scored again – another goal by Yannick Gerhardt was rightly disallowed. In the end, the xG value was 2.63 to 0.54 for Wolfsburg.
VfL Wolfsburg – FC Bayern Munich: The line-ups
Wolfsburg: Casteels – Lacroix (30th Kaminski), Bornauw, van de Ven – Baku, Nmecha, Arnold (74th Gerhardt), Paulo Otavio (66th Paredes) – Wimmer (66th Marmoush), Svanberg – Wind (74th Nmecha).
The star of the game: Kingsley Coman (FC Bayern Munich)
The left wing put FC Bayern on the road to victory early on with his brace: At 1-0 his dangerous cross simply slipped through, the 2-0 was a wonderful direct acceptance. In the 55th he had to give way for Gnabry.
The flop of the match: Maxence Lacroix (VfL Wolfsburg)
The right link in the Wolfsburg three-man chain had to go down in the 30th minute – and then rioted in the dressing room. With Lacroix substituting, Kovac switched to a back four and his side got into the game better. Lacroix had only sold 55 percent of his passports
The referee: Harm Osmers
Osmers sent Kimmich off the field for two yellow-worthy fouls. In general, the referee had a lot to do: he issued a total of eight warnings. He rightly denied recognition to Yannick Gerhardt’s supposed goal to make it 3:4. Ridle Baku had previously fouled Leon Goretzka.