3rd September, 2022
Bayern Munich failed to bounce back to winning ways in the Bundesliga as Union Berlin doggedly held them to a 1-1 draw at Alte Forsterei on Saturday.
The champions slipped up for the first time this top-flight season previously against Borussia Monchengladbach, and were looking to get back on track away from home.
But Julian Nagelsmann’s side were forced to settle for a point that means both they and Urs Fischer’s opponents stay locked behind Borussia Dortmund at the summit, in a match that struggled to live up to its explosive start.
Any notion of a quiet afternoon in the capital was swiftly dismissed in a blockbuster opening quarter of an hour, which saw the hosts fire home first before the visitors hit back barely three minutes later.
Sheraldo Becker chopped a fine volley across the face of goal off a looping free kick for Union, before Bayern promptly responded through Joshua Kimmich’s rifled finish.
Leroy Sane subsequently went close twice over the final stages of the first half, forcing a save and steering another effort wide.
That looked to set the table for a dramatic encounter after the break, only for the home side to double down on a defensive approach that saw them hold just over a fifth of the possession throughout, lying deep to frustrate their rivals.
Bayern continued to launch wave after wave of offensive action to no avail, with both Sane and Sadio Mane coming close to finding a winner – but ultimately, they were held stubbornly at bay for a cagey share of the points.
What does it mean? Bayern slip up again
The dominance of Bayern Munich when it has come to the Bundesliga crown over the past decade is legendary, but could this finally be the season they lose their grip?
Berlin’s shrewd performance forced them to throw everything and the kitchen sink, yet they still came up short, and now trail Dortmund crucially; an early psychological blow for the Bavarians.
Visitors stretch unbeaten record
It will be scant consolation for Nagelsmann, but his team have at least kept their record of never losing a Bundesliga match to their rivals intact. It is now seven games without a defeat, but how he will wish it was another win.
Becker brilliance shines again
Suriname international Becker’s previous best haul was four goals in 28 games last season. Now, he has broken that in just five matches, nabbing a fifth of the season and seventh overall involvement, to cement his place as one of their form players.
Bayern Munich will dust themselves off for their Champions League opener against Inter at San Siro on September 6, while Union Berlin face Belgium’s Union Saint-Gilloise two days later in the Europa League.