Freiburg 1-4 Bayern Munich: Goretzka makes scoring return

John Skilbeck
Stats Perform
Leon Goretzka scored on his return to Bayern duty
Leon Goretzka scored on his return to Bayern duty

Leon Goretzka returned from his long lay-off with a goal as Bayern Munich won 4-1 at Freiburg in the Bundesliga – where the leaders briefly had 12 players on the pitch.

Freiburg are in the hunt for a Champions League place and were far from pushovers, despite having won just one of 37 previous Bundesliga clashes between the teams.

Their resistance was broken when Goretzka, back from a hip injury that had kept him sidelined since December, headed a 58th-minute opener.

Freiburg's Nils Petersen scored within moments of coming off the bench to bring Freiburg level, only for Serge Gnabry to do just the same for Bayern in the 73rd minute, and Kingsley Coman drilled in the third before Marcel Sabitzer hit a fourth in stoppage time.

Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane and Goretzka threatened early on from Bayern half-chances, before Manuel Neuer comfortably saved a daisy-cutter from Roland Sallai at the other end.

It was just the sixth time this season that Bayern had failed to score in the first half of a Bundesliga game, but they had not drawn a blank over 90 minutes.

Therefore, it was hardly a surprise when Goretzka made a 58th-minute breakthrough, heading in Kimmich's free-kick after Mark Flekken made a misjudged charge off his line and failed to claim the ball.

Goretzka came off after 62 minutes, receiving a hug from Julian Nagelsmann, who also removed Robert Lewandowski. But within seconds it was a Freiburg substitute, fresh from replacing Sallai, who stunned Bayern with a fine equaliser.

Petersen made a bright run between Bayern defenders to meet Christian Gunter's clever pass and drill a left-footed strike across Neuer, finding the bottom-left corner.

Gnabry pulled off the same trick of scoring within seconds of entering the action when he restored Bayern's lead, taking advantage of charitable defending from Nico Schlotterbeck to fire left-footed into the bottom-right corner after Lucas Hernandez's cross. Coman struck when Flekken could only push his skidding 20-yard strike into the net.

Play was held up for several minutes when Bayern briefly had 12 players on the field, after an apparent substitution bungle, but the game continued when that was resolved and Sabitzer struck late on to add gloss.

What does it mean?

With Borussia Dortmund in action later in the day, this was a game that Bayern wanted to win to pile pressure on their last remaining rivals for the title.

Ultimately they did that, and the second-half display was Bayern at their most punishing, seizing on weaknesses that were not apparent before the break.

But what of the 12-man mess? Whose fault was that, and could there be any implications? It appeared to be a matter of seconds that Bayern played with an extra man after electing to bring on Niklas Sule and Sabitzer for Corentin Tolisso and Coman, but somebody made a shocking mess of what should be a simple process.

Slow start, but Bayern came good

Bayern had 64.7 per cent of first-half possession but won only 41.7 per cent of duels, and while they had less of the ball after the break (58 per cent), their duel success went up for the second 45 minutes (52.4 per cent).

They were far sharper as Freiburg struggled to keep pace, with the second-half shot count of 14-5 in Bayern's favour illustrating this.

Off day for Lewandowski, but Bayern streak goes on

This was not Lewandowski's day, as the striker who was seeking a record-breaking 18th away goal in a Bundesliga season managed only one shot before being withdrawn.

Nonetheless, Bayern have now scored in their last 75 games in the German Bundesliga. When he fails to fire, they have plenty ready to step up.

What's next?

Bayern have a Champions League quarter-final first leg coming up against Villarreal in Spain on Wednesday. Freiburg are back in action next weekend when they travel to tackle Eintracht Frankfurt in a Sunday game.

Tags

Bayern Munich1. BundesligaFreiburg
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