Daniel van Buyten headed a last-gasp winner as Bayern came from behind to record a crucial Bundesliga win over an uninspired but stubborn Frankfurt side on Saturday.
The 69,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a patchy first half with few chances, although Luca Toni was desperately unlucky to hit the post shortly before the break. The men in red dominated possession after the restart, only for Alexander Meier to hand Frankfurt the lead totally against the run of play on the hour.
Sub Arjen Robben levelled ten minutes later and Martin Demichelis made a comeback from a ten-week lay-off before the end, but it was Van Buyten, operating as an emergency striker, who netted the late but deserved winner with two minutes to play.
The win takes Munich up to fifth in the Bundesliga standings on 18 points from 10 games, now just four points off leaders Leverkusen, although the situation could change after a number of the front-runners play on Sunday. Bayern and Eintracht renew acquaintances in just four days when the sides meet in the DFB Cup in Frankfurt.
FCB showed one change to the side beaten by Bordeaux in midweek, Danijel Pranjic taking over from Altintop and slotting in at left-back, with Philipp Lahm reverting to the right. Franck Ribery, Edson Braafheid, Breno and Ivica Olic were all ruled out with injury, but Robben made his expected appearance among the substitutes after a three-week lay-off.
Louis van Gaal again deployed his players in a 4-4-2 formation, with Miro Klose and Toni up front, and Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller alternating in the hole behind the front two.
Klose flashed a shot across veteran Eintracht keeper Oka Nikolov’s goal after just six minutes, but Bayern otherwise struggled to make early headway against their well-organised opponents.
The home side finally hit their stride midway through the half, but Toni headed Schweinsteiger’s flighted cross wide after stealing between Frankfurt centre-backs Marco Russ and Chris, and Nikolov reacted smartly to block Toni’s toe-poke and Müller’s follow-up.
Klose was denied only by a desperate lunge from Maik Franz, but Munich’s gathering head of steam evaporated as quickly as it had arisen and the game meandered for a long spell until Toni crashed a left-footed shot off the post – the seventh time Bayern have hit post or bar in the league this term – and Franz again nicked in to block with the Italian poised to slot home.
Schweinsteiger tested Nikolov with the first chance after the restart, and the same player battered a volley wide from the edge of the box, although it was uninspiring stuff against the increasingly defensive visitors, and Van Gaal duly sent on Robben for Klose after an hour.
But there was a shock twist to the plot when Eintracht took the lead immediately afterwards, Meier latching onto former FCB reserve Partick Ochs’ slide-rule pass and beating Jörg Butt from ten yards.
Mario Gomez came on for Anatoliy Tymoshchuk as Van Gaal switched to all-out attack, but that handed Eintracht chances on the break and Butt did well to palm aside Ochs’ stinging drive.
Munich poured forward in search of the equaliser and the subs combined to level the scores on 70 minutes, Gomez cleanly beating Nikolov to Müller’s lofted pass and leaving Robben with the simplest of tasks to shepherd the ball into the unguarded net.
The goal had the curious effect of killing the game for a while, but Van Gaal had one more trick up his sleeve as Demichelis took over from Toni for the last five minutes, allowing Van Buyten to operate up front in the search for a winner.
That move turned out a masterstroke when Lahm swung the ball over from the right with two minutes remaining, Müller flicking to the back stick and the big Belgian planting a firm header across Nikolov and in off the far post.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley
|Bayern Munich - Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 (H-T: 0-0)|
|Bayern Munich||Butt - Lahm, Van Buyten, Badstuber, Pranjic - Tymoshchuk (Gomez 62), Van Bommel, Schweinsteiger, Müller - Klose (Robben 59), Toni (Demichelis 86)|
|Substitutes:||Rensing, Görlitz, Altintop, Ottl|
|Eintracht Frankfurt||Nikolov - Franz, Chris, Russ, Spycher - Ochs, Teber, Bajramovic, Schwegler - Meier (Fenin 77), Liberopoulos|
|Referee:||Dr. Drees (Münster-Sarmsheim)|
|Goals:||0-1 Meier (60), 1-1 Robben (69), 2-1 Van Buyten (88)|
|Yellow Cards:||- / -|