Bayern Serge nine clear at Bundesliga summit

Bayern Munich opened up a nine-point lead over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 win over SC Freiburg. Serge Gnabry scored one and assisted another as ‘Die Roten’s excellent form continued, with the champions-elect losing just two of their last 20 games in all competitions.

The Bundesliga’s meanest defences combined to cancel each other out in a cagey first half. As expected, Bayern was able to dominate possession but struggled to test Mark Flekken in the hosts’ goal. Fresh from his first goal for the club before the international break, Tanguy Nianzou had the visitors’ best opening but failed to direct his header on target from close range.

Christian Streich’s men began to gain a foothold as the half progressed, but found an all-French Bayern defence difficult to breach. Roland Sallai wasted their best chance, after finding space inside the area his tame shot failed to stress Manuel Neuer. A surely robust HT team talk initially failed to make an impact, and Julian Nagelsmann’s frustration visibly grew as the defending champions continued to falter in front of goal.

Shortly before the hour mark, though, Freiburg’s resistance was broken. Joshua Kimmich’s teasing free-kick delivery baited Flekken into coming to claim, but the goalkeeper fell short and Leon Goretzka nodded home, netting in his first Bundesliga appearance since early December after a long-term hip injury.

However, Bayern’s lead was eliminated within four minutes, as their defence was completely unlocked. Christian Günter’s through ball found Nils Petersen to slot beyond Neuer, scoring in the same minute he was introduced from the bench.

The visitors responded with a substitution of their own, and Gnabry had an almost identical impact, scoring within a minute of coming on and securing a vital three points for Bayern. A Lucas Hernandez cross from the left found the winger, and he showed incredible composure to control the ball before finding the back of the net.

Kingsley Coman struck in the final 10 minutes to put some gloss on the scoreline, beating Flekken with a powerful effort at the near post. Marcel Sabitzer added a fourth in stoppage time, meaning Bayern have now scored in all of their league games this season, ending Freiburg’s six-match unbeaten league run in the process and strengthening their bid for a 10th consecutive German crown.

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