Lewandowski rescues late 2-1 win for Bayern in Wolfsburg
BERLIN (AP) — Robert Lewandowski scored an injury-time penalty for Bayern Munich to beat Wolfsburg 2-1 and move 21 points clear in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Lewandowski converted his league-leading 20th goal from the spot after Arjen Robben - who earlier missed a penalty - was pulled back by the arm by Gian-Luca Itter.
It stretched Bayern’s winning run to 13 games across all competitions, a personal record for Jupp Heynckes. The veteran coach has 21 victories in 22 games since returning for his fourth stint in October. Bayern hasn’t lost since November.
But the side had to work hard in Wolfsburg, which took an early lead through Daniel Didavi.
“You could say we’re lucky to turn the game around in the final minutes,” Heynckes acknowledged. “It’s very bitter for Wolfsburg because they fought brilliantly.”
Some Wolfsburg fans protested against their side’s lackluster season by leaving part of the stadium’s north stand empty. They intended to take their seats only after 19 minutes and 45 seconds, corresponding with the year of the club’s formation.
Wolfsburg didn’t wait, putting Bayern under pressure from the off, and Didavi scored in the eighth minute when he beat Juan Bernat to Yunus Malli’s cross and headed past his former Stuttgart teammate Sven Ulreich in Bayern’s goal.
Bayern pushed for an equalizer but was frustrated by the home side’s well-organized defense. Franck Ribery was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after flinging his arm back and catching Renato Steffen in the face.
Robben had the chance from the penalty spot early in the second half, after Steffen barged Corentin Tolisso off the ball, but Koen Casteels got a hand to the Dutch winger’s strike and pushed it onto the post.
Sandro Wagner finally rewarded Bayern’s second-half improvement with a powerful header to Robben’s cross some 20 minutes in, and Robben proved influential again at the end when he earned the second penalty.
Wolfsburg remained one point above the relegation zone.
Bayern next faces Besiktas in the Champions League on Tuesday.
VAR DENIES COLOGNE
Veteran striker Claudio Pizarro thought he scored a dramatic late winner for Cologne over Hannover, but his injury-time goal was ruled out on video analysis for offside and the sides settled for 1-1.
“Bitter, unfortunately,” said Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck, whose side remains on the bottom with 11 rounds remaining.
Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn said, “The chances are getting smaller all the time.”
HAMBURG LOSING HOPE
Hamburger SV is also deep in relegation trouble after losing at home to Bayer Leverkusen 2-1.
Leon Baily took advantage of a mistake from Douglas Santos, nipping in to surprise the defender and score his ninth goal of the season five minutes before the break.
It was a deserved lead for Leverkusen, which hit the post earlier on, and Kai Havertz made it 2-0 early in the second half.
Andre Hahn’s fine chip over the goalkeeper was too late for Hamburg, which remains six points from safety. No Bundesliga side has ever recovered from such a deficit at this late stage of the season since the three-point rule was introduced.
A Nils Petersen penalty was enough for Freiburg to beat visiting Werder Bremen, another relegation candidate, 1-0.
First half goals from Thilo Kehrer and Breel Embolo were enough for Schalke to beat Hoffenheim 2-1. Andrej Kramaric scored late for the visitors, who slipped to ninth.
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