Bayern Munich were beaten for just the third time in the Bundesliga this season as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach as German football returned from its mid-season break.
First-half goals from Florian Neuhaus and Stefan Lainer cancelled out Robert Lewandowski’s opener at the Allianz Arena, and Julian Nagelsmann’s men were unable to find a way back into the game in the second period.
The defending champions had been hit by numerous positive COVID-19 cases in the build-up and were missing several key players including Manuel Neuer, Dayot Upamecano, Kingsley Coman, Alphonso Davies and Leroy Sane.
However, in a game behind closed doors with the snow falling in Munich, a nonetheless strong Bayern starting line-up was unable to avenge their 5-0 humbling by Gladbach in the DFB-Pokal this season.
Yann Sommer made two big saves early on from Serge Gnabry and Lewandowski, but the Poland star was never likely to be denied for long and he had Bayern in front on 18 minutes when he collected a Thomas Muller pass, before turning his marker and firing in at Sommer’s near post with the usual precise venom.
Entirely against the run of play, Gladbach were level just nine minutes later. With the first real attack from the visitors, a cross was poorly cleared by Joshua Kimmich and the alert Neuhaus fired the ball in under Sven Ulreich.
That sparked Adi Hutter’s team into life and they were ahead just after the half-hour mark when a Luca Netz corner was headed in well by Lainer.
Gladbach were the ones pressing for another as they started to dominate the hosts, with Neuhaus and Breel Embolo both coming close to getting a third, before Lewandowski hit the post from a tight angle just before half-time.
Sommer saved well from Jamal Musiala early in the second half while Lewandowski hit the woodwork again, but despite a late push for an equaliser, the league leaders were kept at bay.
65 – FC Bayern München have scored in each of their last 65 Bundesliga games, equalling the competition record set by themselves (also 65 from 2012 to 2014). Always. #FCBBMG pic.twitter.com/kanVFeOgq0
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) January 7, 2022
What does it mean? Hutter might have Nagelsmann’s number
It is reasonable to say that Nagelsmann’s pre-season move to a new club has gone a little better than Hutter’s, but this was another example of the latter getting the better of the young prodigy.
Hutter and Nagelsmann have now met eight times as opposition coaches in the Bundesliga, and nobody has won as often in the top flight against Nagelsmann as the Gladbach boss (W4 D3 L1).
While the former RB Leipzig man may well end the season as a champion, there will be many Bundesliga bosses asking Hutter for his blueprint for consistently conquering the 34-year-old’s gameplan.
Signs of a new beginning for Hutter
As mentioned, it has not been a happy start for life at the Foals for the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss, with his side sitting 14th in the table before this game.
Gladbach had lost four and drawn one of their five games heading into the break, having not won in the league since a 4-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Greuther Furth on November 20.
However, only their second away win of the season here sees them move up to 11th. If they can play against others the way they do against Bayern, Gladbach should have no problems shooting up the table in the second half of the campaign.
Bayern look cold in the snow
There was something oddly dystopian about the game, with no fans, snow falling, and Bayern losing.
The start was electric enough, carving Gladbach open several times before Lewandowski’s superb goal, but from there it was a strangely subdued showing.
Bayern did have one positive, having now scored in each of their past 65 Bundesliga games, equalling the league record, which they set themselves between 2012 and 2014.
They conceded two sloppy goals and allowed Gladbach 10 shots. While it will still take a more serious downturn in form to throw the Bundesliga title away from here, their struggles to cope in games like this do raise some alarms about Bayern’s Champions League prospects.
Key Opta Facts
– Bayern have lost after scoring the opening goal in the Bundesliga for the first time since October 3, 2021 against Eintracht Frankfurt. They went seven such games without defeat before now.
– Lewandowski has scored 20 goals this season (one in this game), more than any other player in the Bundesliga.
– Muller has assisted 14 goals this season (one in this game), more than any other player in the Bundesliga.
– Gladbach have scored in their past four games in the Bundesliga, their joint-longest scoring streak this season.
Bayern travel to Cologne a week on Saturday while Gladbach host Bayer Leverkusen on the same day.
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