Bayern fight back to beat Augsburg
February 17 2019 12:37 AM
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Bayern Munich players celebrate in front of the fans after their win over Augsburg in Bundesliga on Friday night. (Reuters)

AFP/Berlin

Bayern Munich conceded the fastest own-goal in Bundesliga history on Friday night and twice had to equalise before securing a 3-2 win at Augsburg in their final tune-up before their Champions League tie at Liverpool.
Ahead of Tuesday’s last 16, first-leg clash at Anfield, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will have watched with interest how Augsburg, who sit just above the Bundesliga relegation places, caused Bayern a few problems. The away league win means defending champions Bayern trimmed the gap to just two points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, who are at bottom side Nuremberg tomorrow.
With one eye on Anfield, Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer returned after three games out with a thumb injury, but conceded two goals in the opening 24 minutes — the first after just 13 seconds. Leon Goretzka claimed an unwanted record for the Bundesliga’s fastest own-goal when he turned the ball into his own net. “I can’t remember a worst start from us,” admitted Bayern coach Niko Kovac. “We have to play much better at Liverpool.”
The win could have come at a price as Kingsley Coman, who scored Bayern’s first-half goals, was injured but he was cleared yesterday for Liverpool’s matches. Coman twice equalised in the opening half, cancelling out the own-goal then levelling at the half-time break after South Korea international Ji Dong-won had restored Augsburg’s lead.
David Alaba scored Bayern’s winning goal early in the second half, but Bayern will need to improve to trouble Liverpool.
Bibiana Steinhaus, the first female referee in Europe’s top five leagues, had barely blown for kick-off when Augsburg winger Philipp Max put in a cross which flummoxed the Bayern defence. Goretzka watched in horror as the ball ricocheted off his boot and into the net as the injury-hit hosts took a shock lead. It was short of the Bundesliga’s record fastest goal, just nine seconds, shared by Kevin Volland, for Hoffenheim against Bayern in 2015/16, and Karim Bellarabi, for Leverkusen against Dortmund in 2014/15.
However, shell-shocked Bayern quickly regrouped. Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski went close, then Bayern drew level on 17 minutes when a beautifully curling Joshua Kimmich cross found Kingsley Coman, who tapped home at the far post. Augsburg restored their lead with almost a copy of their first goal when Max again fired in a cross and Ji rifled an unstoppable shot past Neuer from 14 metres out on 24 minutes. Bayern still managed to go into the half-time break level when Coman claimed his second goal.
Goretzka made up for his earlier mistake with a pass to the French winger, who fired through the legs of Augsburg goalkeeper Gregor Kobel to make it 2-2 just before the break. The winning goal arrived eight minutes into the second-half when Coman flicked the ball inside to Alaba and the 26-year-old fired a trademark low-shot inside the post which gave Augsburg keeper Kobel no chance. Augsburg’s Reece Oxford headed over with a brilliant effort with 26 minutes left, but Bayern held on for victory.
Yesterday, Schalke 04 warmed-up for the Champions League visit of Manchester City with a goalless draw at home to fellow strugglers Freiburg. Schalke are winless in their last three Bundesliga games and sit just above the relegation places in 14th spot. Next up is a huge challenge at home to Pep Guardiola’s Premier League giants City in their Champions League last 16, first-leg tie on Wednesday.
In-tempered clash, both Schalke and Freiburg finished with ten men. The Royal Blues played for nearly 50 minutes without defensive midfielder Suat Serdar, sent off for a first-half foul, while Freiburg defender Christian Guenter was dismissed late on for a second yellow card. Schalke came close to conceding a penalty with 10 minutes left when Spanish midfielder Omar Mascarell was suspected of a handball, but the video assistant referee (VAR) over-ruled the referee’s initial decision.
Welsh teenage winger Rabbi Matondo, who Schalke signed last month from Man City, struggled to make an impact on only his second Bundesliga appearance, his first over 90 minutes.
The 18-year-old had a good chance with 16 minutes left but ballooned his shot over the bar. Freiburg hit the Schalke woodwork twice in the second half through substitutes Jerome Gondorf and Luca Waldschmidt.
RB Leipzig took their chance to stay in the title race as a 3-1 win at Stuttgart left them fourth, just a point behind Borussia Moenchengladbach, who play today at Eintracht Frankfurt. Yussuf Poulsen netted two goals as Leipzig took the three points. Wolfsburg climbed to fifth with a 3-0 win at Mainz with goals by midfielder Maximilian Arnold, striker Wout Weghorst and defender Robin Knoche. Hoffenheim also moved up after Algeria forward Ishak Belfodil, Brazilian striker Joelinton and Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay netted in their 3-0 win at second-from-bottom Hanover 96 to go seventh

Bundesliga results

Schalke 0 Freiburg 0; Hoffenheim 3 (Joelinton 5, Belfodil 14, Derimbay 80) Hanover 96 0; Stuttgart 1 (Zuber 16-pen) RB Leipzig 3 (Poulsen 6, 74, Sabitzer 68); Wolfsburg 3 (Arnold 4, Weghorst 70-pen, Knoche 76) Mainz 0
Playing today: Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Moenchengladbach (1430), Bayer Leverkusen v Fortuna Duesseldorf (1700)
Tomorrow: Nuremberg v Borussia
Dortmund (1930)
Played Friday: Augsburg 2 (Goretzka 1-og, Ji 24) Bayern Munich 3 (Coman 17, 45, Alaba 53)



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