Defender Holger Badstuber scored his first Bundesliga goal Friday with a free kick to secure Bayern Munich’s hard-earned 2-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The win lifted Bayern into third place with 27 points, at least until the 15th round is completed over the weekend.
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Badstuber curled a long-range free kick inside the far post in the 75th minute to keep Bayern undefeated in eight games. Mario Gomez had put Bayern ahead and Roel Brouwers scored the equalizer.
“I practice such free kicks and I noticed that the goalkeeper was in the middle of the goal so I went for it,” Badstuber said.
Moenchengladbach had won only once in Munich in 41 previous games – a 2-1 victory in 1999 – and lost 31 times, but had the visiting team used more than one of its chances in the first half it may have earned another victory.
The match was played with an official Jabulani ball that will be used at next year’s World Cup, and Joerg Butt was nearly taken by surprise when Juan Arango sent a powerful free kick from a sharp angle but the Bayern goalkeeper blocked the shot.
Michael Bradley couldn’t quite control a good pass and Butt was able to clear the ball as the visiting team had some early chances.
But Gomez drove home in the 19th minute when he was left unchallenged at the edge of the area, turned around and slotted the ball inside the near post for his third goal in three games.
Arango tested Butt again and the keeper had to stretch to full length to palm away the dipping shot.
Moenchengladbach recovered well from Bayern’s goal and Brouwers evened the score after a clever pass from Bradley between two Bayern defenders in the 28th.
Butt tipped over a good effort from Rob Friend and Bayern’s defense was increasingly under pressure.
It was Butt again who saved Bayern with another save from Arango.
Moenchengladbach pulled back in the second half and did not have as many chances, allowing Bayern to get back into the game. The win should provide a confidence boost ahead of next week’s game at Juventus, where it needs a win to advance to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Coach Louis van Gaal dropped Luca Toni from the squad and the Italy striker wasn’t even on the bench. The two have been feuding and Toni wants to leave the club.
“Moenchengladbach played a very good game and was the better team in the first half,” van Gaal said. “But we had the upper hand in the second half.”