Bayern dodge bullet with late win at Hoffenheim; Wolfsburg draw

BY Ross Dunbar • August 22, 2015

Robert Lewandowski's last-minute winner fired 10-man Bayern Munich to a dramatic 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.

The Polish striker came off the bench to score in the 90th minute to secure a hard-fought win and maintain their perfect record after two games.

Kevin Volland scored one the fastest goal in Bundesliga history after 9.3 seconds before Thomas Müller pulled Bayern level on 40 minutes. But Hoffenheim's Eugen Polanski missed a penalty late on as Jerome Boateng was shown his marching orders, yet Lewandowski still managed to secure all three points late on.

''We can only learn from it. It's not the best start in a game but we still had 93 minutes in which to win it,'' Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said after the win. ''The last 10 minutes were a bit crazy. We've played one of our best Bundesliga games of the last three years.''

Guardiola handed Mario Götze a rare start in the starting lineup, with Robert Lewandowski dropping to the bench. Götze, Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben appeared to share the responsibility for covering the centre-forward area, although it would prove largely ineffective.

Before the ball could even reach them, Hoffenheim led through Volland's record-breaking goal. The forward was presented with a glorious chance when David Alaba lost possession and Volland made no mistake, firing past Manuel Neuer from close range.

Without Lewandowski's brilliant work in-an-around the box, the onus fell to Douglas Costa on the left-hand side, the Brazilian enjoying a super start to the season for the German champions. Costa's shot in the 11th minute could have brought Bayern level had it been struck with more power.

Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann kept the home side ahead on 32 minutes, saving well from Müller's header. The Bayern forward, reportedly subject to interest from Manchester United, then hit the post before a small drinks break interrupted proceedings.

Guardiola had to deal with the first defensive crisis of the day -- Mehdi Benatia coming off with an ankle injury that puts him in doubt for next weekend's match versus Bayer Leverkusen. However, within four minutes, the visitors drew level with Costa influential on the left-wing, blasting the ball across the goal – with the help of Baumann's spill -- where Müller poked home.

Götze, meanwhile, played on the edges of the game throughout. He had failed to score in 13 games before the trip to Hoffenheim and his only notable action was his mazy dribble from right-to-left, setting up Costa who should have scored.

What makes the former Shakhtar Donestk winger so dangerous is his direct running in possession of the ball -- he's rapid without the ball; but equally just as speedy with the ball at his feet. On 62 minutes, he beat Pavel Kaderabek on the left, drilled the ball across goal where Niklas Süle hooked the ball over his own crossbar with several Bayern players waiting to convert.

The game exploded into life on 71 minutes when Jerome Boateng received his second yellow card for a handball inside the box, the home side earning a spot-kick. But midfielder Eugen Polanski struck his penalty against the post as Hoffenheim's 14-game winless run against the Bavarians continues.

Aggrieved and riled up, Bayern rolled their sleeves up and dug deep.After missing a great chance on 87 minutes, Lewandowski wasn't to be denied in stoppage time as he tucked past Baumann from close range.

''After the penalty and the red card we knew we had to play on. We still had two or three big chances,'' said Lewandowski, who was denied by Baumann, while Mueller hit the post again.

1 Köln, 1 Wolfsburg

Meanwhile, a late comeback secured a 1-1 draw for below-par Wolfsburg at Köln who continue to look affected by the uncertainty around Kevin De Bruyne's future at the club.

The Belgian attacking-midfielder was as poor as last weekend when it looked as though the transfer speculation around his future had got to his head. He survived the axe from boss Dieter Hecking and completed the full 90 minutes.

The 24-year-old is expected to complete a move to Manchester City early next week, although newspaper reports suggested he would miss Saturday's fixture. That was dismissed late in the week by sporting director Klaus Allofs.

Köln took the lead through Simon Zoller, but failed to capitalize on their dominance for the first 60 minutes. Wolfsburg rallied late on and Nicklas Bendtner equalized with seven minutes left before Ricardo Rodriguez hit the bar in stoppage time.

Zoller lobbed Koen Casteels inside the box and turned home the bouncing ball despite the best efforts of Naldo to clear. Zoller scored one of the goals last week in the win at Stuttgart -- and he made it two goals in two games on Matchday Two.

Just 90 seconds into the second half, the Billy Goats should have doubled their lead. Zoller found himself one-on-one with Casteels, but the Belgian keeper blocked well. Still defensively strong, Peter Stöger's men have added multiple options in attack this summer to give them a little more flexibility tactically.

On the wing, former Borussia Dortmund player Leonardo Bittencourt looks bright and gave the usually reliable Vieirinha a torrid time with several dribbles and nutmegs in the second half. Marcel Risse stretches the game on the right-hand side and he created a great chance for Anthony Modeste on the hour mark.

Risse turned inside, picked out the former Hoffenheim striker, but his powerful right-foot shot was excellently saved by Casteels. But the tide soon turned around the hour mark with Hecking's men growing in desperation to get something out of this game.

Timo Horn pulled off a wonderful save in the 65th minute to deny Bas Dost his second of the campaign. But despite his best efforts, Bendtner poked home the leveler on 83 minutes from Horn's parried save.

Wolfsburg came close to snatching all three points when Rodriguez's header in the last minute hit the woodwork. Köln survived in the end to stay unbeaten in their first two games of the new season.

Promoted Darmstadt held Schalke to a 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen, with Konstantin Rausch scoring for Darmstadt in the ninth, only for the visitors to be denied by Julian Draxler's equalizer two minutes after the break.

''We fought for the point with great effort, intensity and willingness to run,'' said Darmstadt coach Dirk Schuster, whose side is undefeated after two games on its return to the Bundesliga.

Eintracth Frankfurt 1 , Augsburg 1

Marco Russ scored late to salvage a 1-1 draw for Eintracht Frankfurt at home against Augsburg, cancelling out Brazilian forward Caiuby's 23rd-minute strike.

Caiuby gave the Bavarian guests the lead midway through the first half but Frankfurt captain Marco Russ denied them their first win of the season with an equalizer in the 86th minute.

It was something of a fortunate equalizer for the hosts, who would have been happier about the point than their guests, who wasted numerous chances to put the result beyond Frankfurt.

Hannover 0, Bayer Leverkusen 1

Bayer Leverkusen returned to winning ways after their midweek 1-0 Champions League defeat to Lazio by beating Hannover 1-0 at the Niedersachsenstadion on Saturday.

A trademark Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick in the 18th minute was enough to earn Roger Schmidt's men all three points and keep them on maximum points from their first two Bundesliga games of the season, after they beat Hoffenheim on the opening weekend.

Hannover barely put up a fight in front of their own fans, having struggled in their opening game at Darmstadt a week ago.

The alarm bells may already be starting to sound after Hannover only just avoided relegation last season, while Leverkusen will go into the return leg of their UEFA Champions League playoff on Wednesday in confident mood.

Hamburger 3, Stuttgart 2

Hamburger SV twice came from behind to beat Stuttgart 3-2 in the late game with goals from Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Johan Djourou in the final minutes.

Daniel Ginczek scored twice, either side of Ivo Ilicevic's equalizer for Hamburg, to put Stuttgart 2-1 up at half-time.

But the game changed in the 53rd when Stuttgart midfielder Florian Klein was sent off with two yellow cards in as many minutes.

Lasogga finally equalized in the 84th and then turned provider for Djourou to secure Hamburg's first points in the 89th. It was the Swiss defender's first Bundesliga goal.

''We played a great intensive game. But then with the red card... It's bitter,'' Ginczek said after Stuttgart's second successive defeat.

Information from The Associated Press and FOXSoccer.com's newswire services contributed to this report.


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