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Bayern Munich 2 Wolfsburg 2: Ulreich howler sparks shock comeback

Bayern Munich were denied a return to the Bundesliga summit as Wolfsburg’s stunning second-half comeback secured a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark from the penalty spot to register his seventh league goal of the campaign.

Arjen Robben’s shot was then deflected in by Rafinha for a second as Carlo Ancelotti’s side raced into a two-goal lead at the break.

Replacing the injured Manuel Neuer, Sven Ulreich then made a mess of Maximilian Arnold’s long-range free-kick to give the visitors a lifeline.

An improbable turnaround was completed seven minutes from time when Daniel Didavi headed home, with Mats Hummels missing a last-gasp chance to win it for the hosts.

Bayern will need to pick themselves up quickly as they face a daunting trip to France on Wednesday for a Champions League clash against Paris Saint-Germain.

The home side started in ominous fashion with Arturo Vidal and Jerome Boateng both seeing goal-bound efforts blocked inside the opening few minutes.

Wolfsburg soon found their shape, though, and kept Bayern’s formidable attack at bay with surprising ease in the opening half hour.

They even managed to carve out a half-chance of their own, but Arnold was unable to keep his left-footed strike from long distance on target.

The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute – and in fortuitous circumstances – when Lewandowski went to ground easily as he attempted to turn Marcel Tisserand inside the area.

The referee was convinced he had been fouled and the prolific Poland international picked himself up to slot past Koen Casteels from the spot.

There was also a huge slice of luck about Bayern’s second, which arrived just before the break.

Robben drove towards the area and the Dutchman’s low strike was diverted past a helpless Casteels by the heel of Rafinha.

Early in the second half Robben came close to adding another, but his whipped shot from Franck Ribery’s cutback fizzed just over the crossbar.

Wolfsburg pulled a goal back 11 minutes after the interval and it was a moment that Ulreich will want to forget in a hurry.

The 29-year-old inexplicably chose to try to keep out Arnold’s free-kick with just one hand, but it offered little resistance as the ball powered past him into the net.

Robben then squandered a golden opportunity to score as he drilled wide with only Casteels to beat.

Ribery blazed over what was practically an open goal with a little over 10 minutes remaining and was made to pay soon after when Didavi met Paul Verhaegh’s cross to plant a header in off the post to draw the visitors level.

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Schalke 0 Bayern Munich 3: James scores on first Bundesliga start

Bayern Munich moved top of the Bundesliga after cruising to a 3-0 victory over Schalke that further eases the pressure on coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Robert Lewandowski scored his fourth goal in three games from the penalty spot to get the champions off the mark before James Rodriguez – making his first Bundesliga start – doubled their lead.

Rodriguez turned creator for Bayern’s third, providing a brilliant assist for second-half substitute Arturo Vidal to open his account for 2017-18.

Ancelotti came under fire after Bayern were beaten 2-0 by Hoffenheim in their third game of the Bundesliga season 10 days ago, but there were few signs of a repeat result at Veltins Arena.

The two sides went into the game level on points and with victories from their previous two games but Schalke struggled to contain Bayern’s attack despite the absence of Arjen Robben, who missed the game through illness.

The visitors also lined up without injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, although deputy Sven Ulreich impressed when called upon to ensure three points went back to Bavaria.

Bayern peppered Ralf Fahrmann’s goal with shots from the outset and the Schalke keeper made an excellent save after seven minutes to keep out Sebastian Rudy’s fierce drive, before thwarting Thomas Muller at close quarters.

Guido Burgstaller had the ball in the net in the 21st minute when Schalke swept through the Bayern defence, converting following a double save from Ulreich, but the offside flag was raised.

That disappointment was compounded for the home side two minutes later when Naldo was judged to have blocked James’ cross with his arm.

Marco Fritz consulted his video assistant referee before pointing to the spot and Lewandowski made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Fahrmann the wrong way to score in the bottom left corner.

Bayern were gifted an easy second when Corentin Tolisso squared to James, who found himself completely unmarked on the edge of the box and beat Fahrmann with a low shot at his near post to make it 2-0 after 28 minutes.

Muller crashed a header against the post from James’ cross five minutes into the second half, before Leon Goretzka muscled his way through the Bayern defence and flashed a shot narrowly wide at the other end.

Schalke continued to probe for a way back into the game and substitute Yevhen Konoplyanka burst into the box before dragging a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post, before Goretzka missed with an ambitious low drive from 25 yards.

Burgstaller should have made it 2-1 when he went one-on-one with Ulreich after 65 minutes and shot straight at the goalkeeper’s feet, but 10 minutes later the game was put out of Schalke’s reach.

Bayern’s third goal was superbly crafted by the ever-industrious James, who turned three defenders on the edge of the Schalke penalty area before playing a wonderfully delicate chip to Vidal and the Chilean thumped the ball into the top corner with aplomb.

Rodriguez almost capped a brilliant full Bundesliga debut with a second goal when he met Muller’s cross with a first-time shot from close range, but Fahrmann turned it around the post to prevent a more emphatic scoreline.

Key Opta stats

– Robert Lewandowski has been involved in nine goals (seven scored and two assists) in his last five competitive games against Schalke (four Bundesliga, one DFB-Pokal). He scored in each of these games – currently his longest run against an opponent.
– Arturo Vidal has won his last 11 Bundesliga games when scoring (nine for Bayern, two for Leverkusen) – a run that started after Leverkusen’s 2-2 against Freiburg in December 2010.
– Since a 2-0 home win in December 2010 Schalke have not won any of their last 14 Bundesliga games against Bayern (three draws, 11 losses). In their Bundesliga history they only once had such a long run against an opponent – also against Bayern. That slump lasted 17 games and 11 years between October 1984 and December 1995.
– Bayern have not lost any of their last 24 Bundesliga games during the Oktoberfest (20 wins, four draws) – the last loss was on October 3 2010, 2-0 at Borussia Dortmund.

– Lewandowski scored his 157th Bundesliga goal and is now level up with Stuttgart legend Fritz Walter in 13th on the all-time list.

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Bayern Munich 3 Anderlecht 0: Lewandowski on target as Ancelotti´s men return to winning ways

Robert Lewandowski outlined his importance to Bayern Munich as his early penalty helped Carlo Ancelotti’s side to a 3-0 victory over 10-man Anderlecht in their Champions League Group B opener.

Having been publicly criticised by Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge following his comments regarding the Bundesliga champions’ transfer policy, Lewandowski wasted no time in making an impact when he drew a clumsy foul from Sven Kums 11 minutes in.

Though the initial contact may well have been outside of the area, a penalty was awarded – and Kums was given his marching orders – with Lewandowski making no mistake from 12 yards.

Bayern came into Tuesday’s clash on the back of their first defeat of the season, which came at the hands of Hoffenheim, and Die Rotten were far from at their best once more, with the visitors squandering two excellent opportunities to restore parity either side of half time.

But, Bayern finally clicked into gear just after the hour, Thiago Alcantara tucking home from Joshua Kimmich’s pinpoint cross.

An argument between Lewandowski and Arjen Robben and the touchline antics of Franck Ribery threatened to overshadow Bayern’s return to form, but Kimmich’s late effort ensured a routine victory ended on a high note.

James Rodriguez should have marked his full debut with a goal inside 10 minutes, but could only direct a tame header straight at Matz Sels after meeting Ribery’s inch-perfect cross.

However, Bayern did not have to wait long to take the lead.

Having latched onto a ball over the top of Anderlecht’s defence, Lewandowski raced into the area, drawing a desperate foul from Kums who – as the last man – the referee had little choice but to send off.

Lewandowski duly converted from the spot, sending Sels the wrong way with a composed finish into the bottom-left corner.

Despite their numerical advantage, a close-range Lewandowski header was the closest Bayern went to extending their lead, and Anderlecht should have drawn level prior to the interval.

Leander Dendoncker got in behind Bayern’s defence and teed up Nicolae Stanciu but, having slipped at the vital moment, he sliced his effort wide as Anderlecht failed to capitalise on a rare venture forward.

And the hosts’ vulnerable defence was opened up once again moments after the restart when Sofiane Hanni’s cut-back found Alexandru Chipciu, whose effort rebounded agonisingly off the left-hand upright.

Ancelotti’s side responded well, though, and finally had their second in the 65th minute as Thiago prodded in Kimmich’s low cross.

Niklas Sule thought he had opened his Champions League account with a terrific header soon after, only for the official to deem the former Hoffenheim man had committed a foul in the build up.

Bayern were back at their rampant best, but issues arose late on when Lewandowski shrugged off Robben’s complaints after the Poland striker failed to play in the Dutch winger before, having been substituted, Ribery launched his shirt down onto the bench.

But that petulance from Bayern’s experienced front line was put to one side in stoppage time, youngster Kimmich coolly rounding Sels to add further gloss to the win.

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Bayern newcomers Suele, Tolisso score in season opening win

MUNICH, Germany – Champions Bayern Munich comfortably beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in the Bundesliga season opener on Friday to lay down a marker as they eye a record-extending sixth straight German league title.

Newcomers Niklas Suele and Corentin Tolisso put the Bavarians ahead before Robert Lewandowski added a third goal with a penalty, following the official use of the video assistant referee for the first time in the Bundesliga.

Bayern were missing close to half a dozen key players through injury including keeper Manuel Neuer, Thiago Alcantara and Jerome Boateng, but it never showed as they rode roughshod over Leverkusen for more than an hour at the Allianz Arena.

Admir Mehmedi pulled a goal back in the 65th minute for the visitors, who missed a handful of late chances to score again.

“We have to improve our defensive work,” Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti told reporters. “But I am not alarmed. We will get better.

“At this stage this can happen. If we want to have a clean sheet, we have to be more compact. We gave them at times too much space.”

Bayern could have taken the lead after five minutes when Frenchman Tolisso, the club’s record signing at 41 million euros (37.46 million pounds), came close to scoring on his league debut but goalkeeper Bernd Leno did well to block his low drive.

It took the hosts another five minutes to break the deadlock when Suele headed home after fellow newcomer Sebastian Rudy floated a free kick to the far post.

Midfielder Tolisso did score in the 19th minute with a close-range header from Arturo Vidal’s clever cross.

Tolisso then rattled the post four minutes later with Leverkusen struggling to repel the Bayern pressure.

RAIN DELAY

The start of the second half was delayed for more than 20 minutes due to torrential rain, but seven minutes later the Bundesliga’s first ever use of the video assistant referee handed Bayern a penalty.

Poland forward Lewandowski, who had been brought down by Charles Aranguiz, converted the spot kick to grab Bayern’s third goal before Mehmedi fired in from close range.

Leverkusen finally managed to spark into life but were wasteful with their chances as Bayern stepped off the gas.

Last season’s runners-up RB Leipzig begin their title challenge at Schalke 04 on Saturday while Borussia Dortmund, who finished third, travel to VfL Wolfsburg.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)