Robert Lewandowski’s 91st-minute strike snatched victory for Bayern Munich in their 2-1 comeback win at Freiburg in sub-zero temperatures on Friday as the Bundesliga resumed after the winter break.
Lewandowski, last season’s top scorer in Germany, showed his class with two superb strikes at Freiburg’s sold-out Schwarzwald Stadion.
Having volleyed Bayern level in the first-half, to cancel out Freiburg’s shock early lead, the Poland hot-shot chested the ball down, flicked it off his left foot and fired home off his right for the late winner.
The victory leaves Bayern six points clear of second-placed RB Leipzig, who host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Freiburg, who stunned Bayern with a shock 2-1 defeat when the sides last met at the Schwarzwald Stadion in May 2015, took an early lead on four minutes.
The thermometer showed minus six degrees Celsius (21.2 Fahrenheit) in the stadium, but Freiburg were on fire in the opening exchanges.
Bayern defender Mats Hummels’ mis-hit clearance fell to Freiburg’s Italian Vincenzo Grifo, who played Janik Haberer into the area.
The attacking midfielder produced a stunning finish to beat Bayern’s Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer as his shot flew into the far corner.
Freiburg enjoyed a string of half chances as Bayern looked far from sure of themselves.
The Bavarian giants, who are chasing their fifth straight German league title, drew level when Lewandowski showed his class.
Having been denied at close range when Freiburg captain Mike Frantz blocked his shot on 35 minutes, Lewandowski was not to be denied.
He volleyed home home the resulting corner from Douglas Costa as Bayern went into the break at 1-1.
Nevertheless, Bayern stars Thomas Mueller and captain Philipp Lahm trudged off clearly unhappy with the first-half performance.
Things did not improve for Bayern in the second-half as Freiburg defended doggedly and tried to catch the guests on the break.
Bayern’s Costa was booked just three minutes after the interval for bringing down Freiburg’s midfielder Maximilian Philipp.
Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti brought on winger Franck Ribery and wing-back Juan Bernat to inject some pace on the flanks for the final 20 minutes.
There were some nervous looks in the Bayern defence on 74 minutes when Haberer went down in the tackle after Hummels’ challenge.
But referee Manuel Graefe spotted the goal-scorer had gone to ground and booked Haberer.
It was Ribery’s cross which led to Lewandowski’s winner and the Poland international showed a world-class finish for his 14th league goal of the season to deny mid-table Freiburg a point.
He is still two goals behind Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the league’s top scorer, who has 16 so far this season.—AFP