Robert Lewandowski’s goal earned a hard-fought, physical 1-0 win over Werder Bremen, which became a battle after Alphonso Davies was sent off in the 79th minute. Reduceing Bayern to 10 men in the closing stages for a second bookable offence (79). If not for a late one-handed save by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the celebrations would have had to wait.
With no fans in the stands on a wet night in Bremen, it was a subdued and strange celebration for Bayern’s players, who put on commemorative T-shirts and paid tribute to their absent supporters with cheers.
German media have dubbed the team the “Geister-Meister” — the ghost champions.
Back in November, the German record title-holders’ biggest defeat in a decade – a 5-1 humbling at Eintracht Frankfurt – cost Niko Kovac his job. A run of one win in four league games left the Bavarians four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.
But under Hansi Flick, promoted from his position as assistant coach, Bayern have been indomitable ever since – and Lewandowski’s trademark finish made it to 22 wins from 23 games in all competitions.
BAYERN Revival by FLICK
Across all competitions, head coach Flick won a startling 26 of his first 29 games in charge, the best start by any Bayern boss, beating Pep Guardiola’s 22 in 27.
Former Bayern Coach Kovac lost his job after winning five of the opening 10 Bundesliga games this season, with three draws and two defeats.
The required standard is higher than that Bayern, but Flick’s success to date has surpassed all expectations.
Player ratings Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich
Werder Bremen: Pavlenka (7), Veljkovic (6), Moisander (5), Gebre Selassie (6), Friedl (5), Vogt (5), Klaassen (5), Eggestein (6), Rashica (6), Osako (6), Bittencourt (6).
Subs: Langkamp (5), Bartels (6), Fullkrug (5), Pizarro (n/a), Sargent (6).
Bayern Munich:Neuer (6), Pavard (6), Davies (5), Boateng (8), Alaba (7), Kimmich (6), Goretzka (6), Gnabry (6), Coman (6), Muller (7), Lewandowski (7).
Subs: Hernandez (n/a)
Man of the match: Jerome Boateng.
Flick has revived Boateng since his arrival in November and it was entirely fitting that it was the centre-back’s pass that provided the title-winning goal for Lewandowski in the opening period.
The defender was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain but is now a vital cog once more at the back, and he underlined his importance with a vital block as Bremen sought a late equaliser.