BERLIN — The busy schedule appears to be affecting Bayern Munich but it didn’t stop the eight-time defending champions from moving top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Bayern laboured to a 2-1 win over Cologne and was left hanging on after a late goal from Dominick Drexler gave the home side hopes of a draw.
“It the end it was a hard-fought victory, no gala and no shining performance,” Bayern forward Thomas Müller said.
Müller might have said the same on Tuesday after another uncharacteristically narrow 2-1 win over Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League. Bayern had scored three goals or more in each of its previous six matches.
But the games are coming every three or four days and tiredness appears to be taking its toll. Bayern coach Hansi Flick gave star striker Robert Lewandowski a rest against Cologne before the next Champions League game, at Salzburg on Tuesday. Lewandowski had scored 10 goals in five Bundesliga games, setting a hard pace for replacement Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to follow.
First-half goals from Müller and Serge Gnabry were enough for Bayern to move top on goal difference from Borussia Dortmund, which beat Arminia Bielefeld 2-0.
A penalty provided the breakthrough for Bayern in the 13th minute. Gnabry’s header was inadvertently blocked by Marius Wolf’s arm and referee Frank Willenborg pointed to the spot. Müller duly converted the penalty.
Joshua Kimmich made the difference before the break when he won the ball with a perfectly timed challenge in midfield and set off Gnabry down the right. Gnabry cut inside to score his fourth goal of the season.
Cologne remained competitive, however, and Drexler’s late goal set up a nervy finale.
HUMMELS THE HERO
Two goals from an unexpected source – defender Mats Hummels – were enough for Dortmund at Bielefeld.
Dortmund struggled, as it often does, to score the first goal. The ball rebounded off Hummels’ left thigh and in from Jadon Sancho’s corner in the 53rd.
Hummels was more aware of his second goal, a header off Marco Reus’ cross in the 71st.
Hannes Wolf scored for Borussia Mönchengladbach in a 1-0 win against Leipzig, which kept the visitors from reclaiming first place.
Gladbach climbed to fourth after six rounds. It's two points behind Leipzig, which dropped two points behind both Dortmund and Bayern.
Also, Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen drew 1-1, with American forward Josh Sargent scoring for Bremen.
Augsburg defeated Mainz 3-1 to extend the visitors’ losing start to six games.
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