Franck Ribery was Bayern Munich’s late matchwinner as the Bundesliga champions defeated RB Leipzig 1-0 on Wednesday to cut Borussia Dortmund’s lead at the top of the table to six points.
With just a place and two points between them at kick-off, there is no surprise the opening exchanges were parries rather than punches. Bayern, though, were looking to make the most of Borussia Dortmund’s surprise stumble, and very nearly delivered the first telling blow — Peter Gulacsi proved equal to Robert Lewandowski in their one-on-one encounter, touching the Poland international’s shot onto a post before seeing the ball spring across his goal and then to safety. Serge Gnabry’s injury-enforced withdrawal before the half-hour mark upset the hosts’ rhythm and heralded Leipzig stepping up their tempo. Bruma had shooting opportunities while Dayot Upamecano sent a header pinging off Manuel Neuer’s crossbar.
A Timo Werner half-volley raised Bayern pulses shortly after the break as Ralf Rangnick’s men looked the more likely to break the deadlock. But it was Niko Kovac’s side who came closest. A cleaner connection to a David Alaba cross by Thomas Müller might have done it; Niklas Süle produced a crisp shot when Gulasci spilled a cross his way, but the centre-back’s effort lacked precision. Gulasci produced the save of the game — and surely one of the season — as he somehow pawed away Joshua Kimmich’s point-blank header. The Hungary international goalkeeper was equally brilliant in keeping out Renato Sanches, but when Upamecano miscued his attempted clearance of the loose ball, Ribery pounced to the delight of the Allianz Arena and — no doubt — groans in Dortmund. Stefan Ilsanker and Sanches were dismissed in added time as tempers frayed, a sign of just how much the result meant to both sides.