Friday, November 16, 2018

Bayern Munich 1 Freiburg 1: Holer puts pressure back on Kovac

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Nov 2018

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Lucas Holer’s 89th-minute strike earned Freiburg a deserved 1-1 draw in a dramatic finale to their Bundesliga clash with Bayern Munich, putting the pressure back on Niko Kovac.

Bayern looked set to extend their winning run to five games courtesy of Serge Gnabry’s effort 10 minutes from time, but Holer darted between Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng to give the visitors a share of the spoils.

The Bavarian giants were jeered by the Allianz Arena crowd following a tepid first half in which Robert Lewandowski wasted a glorious opportunity to put them in front.

Gnabry appeared to have spared the Poland international’s blushes, but Holer’s clinical late finish meant Bayern fell four points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund, who beat Wolfsburg 1-0, and are now without a win in four home matches in all competitions.

Bayern had over 70 per cent possession and completed more than double the number of passes Freiburg managed in the first half, but Alexander Schwolow remained largely untested in the visitors’ goal.

Lewandowski has scored 13 Bundesliga goals against Freiburg but failed to add to his tally in the 26th minute when he got his footing wrong while bearing down on goal and stabbed a tame effort at the goalkeeper from six yards.

Referee Felix Zwayer denied Bayern a penalty after reviewing video footage of the ball striking Manuel Gulde’s hand in the area before the hour mark.

Kovac sent on Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller in an attempt to inject a spark to his team’s attack, but it was Gnabry who made the difference, taking full advantage of the space afforded to him by Nicolas Hofler by drilling into the bottom-right corner.

Bayern were unable to hold on for the win, though, as Holer stretched to connect with Christian Gunter’s cross to deny Manuel Neuer a clean sheet in his 200th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern.

What it means? Crunch Der Klassiker awaits Kovac
Bayern’s next Bundesliga outing sees them travel to the Signal Iduna Park to face Lucien Favre’s pacesetting Dortmund. Kovac eased the pressure that mounted during a run of four matches without a victory by leading his team to a quartet of wins in succession, but defeat against BVB would leave Bayern seven points off top and could potentially spell the end for his tumultuous tenure.

Holer the key for Freiburg
With Freiburg set up to sit back and soak up pressure, they needed their strikers to work hard up top. Holer did exactly what was required of him, linking the play well and battling for his team. The striker created two chances for his team-mates and scored with his only shot on target when the game looked beyond the visitors.

Boateng and Sule slip up
Bayern failed to show the level of composure that you would expect from defending champions who are looking to win the title for a seventh time in succession. Boateng and Sule switched off after the hosts took the lead and somehow let Holer get between them to steal a point for Christian Streich’s impressive side.

Key Opta Facts

– Ribery made his 400th appearance for Bayern in all competitions, more than any other foreign player in the club’s history.
– Bayern have failed to win any of their last four home games in all competitions (L1 D3) for the first time in 17 years. They drew four in succession between November and December 2001 under Ottmar Hitzfeld.
– For the first time since May 1997 (0-0) Freiburg got a point at Bayern. They had lost on each of their last 14 visits to the Bavarian giants.

What’s next?
Bayern will attempt to boost their hopes of advancing in the Champions League when they entertain AEK Athens, though next Saturday’s clash with Dortmund will likely be on their mind. Freiburg play host to Mainz on the same day.

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