FC Bayern withstand early blow to earn three tough points in Augsburg

FC Augsburg may be struggling at the wrong end of the table this season, but they have this nasty habit of pulling out all the stops against the top guns. So it proved at the WWK-Arena, where FC Bayern München twice came from behind in a tough encounter.

Behind after just twelve seconds, Bayern did what they had to do. The win takes Niko Kovač’s men to within two points of Borussia Dortmund, at least until Monday when the current leaders take on Bayer Leverkusen.

Neuer returns, shocked after just thirteen seconds

The Bayern coach made just two changes to the team that had beaten Schalke 04 the previous week. Captain Manuel Neuer was back after recovering from a thumb injury, and the back four swap-shop continued as Jérôme Boateng made way for Niklas Süle.

Leon Goretzka has been in decent goalscoring form in 2019, and would find the back of the net after just thirteen seconds. Unfortunately, it was his own net. In Augsburg’s first attack straight from the kickoff, Philipp Max sent the ball into the Bayern box, right into a crowd of red shirts.

Caught completely flat-footed, Goretzka was unable to clear the danger. The defensive midfielder could only watch as he inadvertently nudged the ball low to Neuer’s right. It was the fastest-ever own goal in the Bundesliga history, and only the third scored in the opening minute since 1963.

Bayern were quick to respond to the early blow. Taking things in their stride, the defending champions almost fashioned a chance just two minutes later, when Serge Gnabry flashed a shot narrowly wide.

Two goals in six minutes

In spite of their being behind, Bayern showed that they were more than capable of turning the situation around. The home team had certainly been buoyed by their early goal, but it was the defending champions that were the more dangerous of the two sides.

The visitors struck in the 17th minute, and it had been coming. A lovely floated cross from right-back Joshua Kimmich was met on the volley by Kingsley Coman, who beat Augsburg ‘keeper Gregor Kobel from close range. With the scores level, the visitors were clear favourites to complete the job.

Just six minutes after drawing level, Die Roten were behind again. As has been the case so many times this season, it was another defensive calamity. The Bayern defence were again caught napping – Süle one of the guilty culprits – and Michael Gregoritsch calmly presented the ball to Ji Dong-won. The South Korean striker needed no second invitation, thumping the ball past Neuer.

Persistence pays off

Once again, Die Roten turned up the heat. Determined to make amends for his earlier gaffe, Goretzka forced Kobel into a fine save after 26 minutes, and fired another shot over the target ten minutes later. Just moments earlier, Robert Lewandowski hit the crossbar.

It looked as though Augsburg were going to survive the onslaught and take their lead into half-time, but Bayern’s equaliser was perfectly timed. Three minutes into additional time, Coman was able to find space and get a shot away, nutmegging Kobel to level the scores.

The start of the second half saw Bayern again put their foot on the gas. For Augsburg, it was a simple case of getting everybody to man the barricades. It was Coman again who cracked open the defence, playing a neat one-two with David Alaba who executed the calmest of finishes after 53 minutes.

Bayern close things out

Augsburg had been more than prepared to soak up the pressure in playing for a point, but were forced to change their tactics after going behind. The excellent Ji was kept out by Neuer, and English youngster Reece Oxford sent a header over the bar. But that was pretty much about it for the hosts.

As more space opened up, there were more opportunities for Kovač’s side to finish things off. Lewandowski and Goretzka both had chances, and Coman was denied a hat-trick by the crossbar after meeting a Kimmich corner at the far post.

Despite the raucous support from the home crowd, Augsburg were unable to offer any real threat. Baum’s side had given everything, but were beaten men.

What should have been a smooth stroll to the final whistle for Bayern was marred by some painfully familiar drama. Having been the star of the show, Coman’s evening was ended prematurely. The Frenchman was on the end of a particularly harsh challenge from Kevin Danso, and was unable to complete the match.

Statistical Summary

FC Augsburg – FC Bayern München 2:3 (2:2)
Goretzka og 1., Ji 23. / Coman 17., 45.+3., Alaba 53.

Augsburg: Kobel – Oxford, Khedira, Danso – Schmid, Moravek (78. Koo), Stafylidis (69. Richter), Max (c) – Ji – Cordova, Gregoritsch

FC Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Thiago (82. Martínez) – Goretzka – James (56. Müller) – Gnabry (64. Ribéry), Lewandowski, Coman

Referee: Bibiana Steinhaus (Langenhagen)
Attendance: 30,660

Yellow Cards: Richter 76. / Goretzka 72., Martínez 90.+2.
Red Cards: – / –

Shots: 8 / 17
Passes: 273 / 697
Completed Passes: 188 / 627
Pass Success: 69% / 90%
Possession: 29% / 71%
Fouls: 14 / 13
Offsides: 1 / 2
Corners: 1 / 9