Wolfsburg 2-4 Bayern Munich: Visitors reclaim top spot
Bayern Munich secured their first Bundesliga victory of 2023 after a frantic first half paved the way for a 4-2 victory against Wolfsburg.
Kingsley Coman's brace put the defending champions in control, with Thomas Muller then capping off his record-equalling 427th league appearance for Bayern in style.
Jakub Kaminski struck before the break to give Wolfsburg hope, with Bayern then seeing Joshua Kimmich receive his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Jamal Musiala and Mattias Svanberg exchanged goals to keep the drama in full flow, though Bayern held on for victory and reclaimed top spot from Union Berlin.
Bayern took the lead after just nine minutes, Coman's teasing cross into the middle finding its way into the far corner of Koen Casteels' net.
Five minutes later, Coman struck again by converting Joao Cancelo's cross with an expertly taken volley after being left with too much space inside the area.
Muller then got in on the act to extend the visitors' lead further, meeting Kimmich's free-kick to flick a header home on his milestone appearance.
Wolfsburg pulled one back before the break, a fine passing move ending with Kaminski, a first-half substitute for Maxence Lacroix, playing a one-two with Paulo Otavio and coolly slotting past Yann Sommer.
The hosts received further encouragement nine minutes after the restart as Bayern were reduced to ten men, Kimmich being shown a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge.
Musiala weaved his way through the Wolfsburg defence to give Julian Nagelsmann's side some breathing room, though the deficit was reduced to two when Svanberg smashed into the roof of the net from close range.
There was still time for further drama with Yannick Gerhardt appearing to set up a frantic finish, but his goal was disallowed for a foul in the build-up as Bayern clinched all three points.
What does it mean? Winless streak ends
Bayern's return to Bundesliga action after the mid-season break had not gone to plan, with three consecutive 1-1 draws reigniting the title race and opening the door for their rivals to take advantage.
The Bavarians entered the game second behind Union Berlin and level on points with Borussia Dortmund, a concerning position given Nagelsmann had failed to win in his six previous trips to the Volkswagen Arena (drawn five, lost one).
That record came to an end, as did Bayern's winless streak, though the result was not as comfortable as the opening 20 minutes suggested.
Coman in control
Coman's brace sent Bayern on their way to all three points, with his two goals arriving from an expected goals (xG) tally of just 0.21 in the game.
While his opener was fortuitous, his second was sheer class, as was Cancelo's assist on his first Bundesliga appearance, both of which will be encouraging moving forward.
Wolfsburg's inability to be decisive in front of goal ultimately proved to be their downfall, with 22 shots in total during the game but just five of those efforts being on target.
The hosts' xG of 2.54 was superior to Bayern's, which remarkably stood at just 0.54, but they could not make those chances count.
Key Opta Facts:
Coman scored his fourth brace in the Bundesliga, and his first in almost four years (April 2019 against Dusseldorf).
Bayern winger Coman now has four goals against Wolfsburg – against no other team has he scored more times (also four against Mainz).
Wolfsburg conceded three goals in the first 19 minutes of a Bundesliga game for the first time.
It is the earliest Bayern have led 3-0 in a Bundesliga game since February 2020 against Hoffenheim (3-0 after 15 minutes).
Kimmich was sent off for the first time on what was his 220th Bundesliga appearance. Overall it is Bayern's second dismissal in the league this season (also Coman against Borussia Dortmund).
Bayern host Bochum next Saturday, while Wolfsburg are on the road against Schalke a day prior.