2017/2018 German Bundesliga
  • Robert Lewandowski (33' PEN)
  • Arjen Robben (42')
  • Maximilian Arnold (56')
  • Daniel Didavi (83')

Manuel Neuer's absence felt as Bayern Munich draw with Wolfsburg


The importance of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to Bayern Munich was laid bare as his stand-in Sven Ulreich played a major role in allowing Wolfsburg to come from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena.

Ulreich could do nothing about Daniel Didavi's headed equaliser in the 83rd minute, but was left horribly embarrassed by Maximilian Arnold's free-kick which started the Wolfsburg comeback early in the second half.

Bayern looked in control at the break thanks to a Robert Lewandowski penalty and a deflected Arjen Robben strike, and missed a number of other chances, but certainly this was not the sort of performance to have Paris St Germain, their Champions League opponents on Wednesday, quaking in their boots.

And the impact of the loss of Neuer, out until the new year with a broken foot, was evident in the awful error which led to Arnold's goal.

Ulreich should have saved his ambitious free kick comfortably, but instead pushed it feebly into his own net.

It was a humiliating and, in the end, decisive blunder, with Carlo Ancelotti's side missing the chance to go top of the Bundesliga table ahead of Borussia Dortmund, who can open up a three-point lead with victory over Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday.

Wolfsburg, in new coach Martin Schmidt's second game in charge, survived a couple of early corners, but frustrated their hosts for much of the first half.

After 10 goals in their three games following their shock loss to Hoffenheim, a Bayern side featuring Robben, Thomas Muller, Franck Ribery and Lewandowski struggled to continue that free-scoring form.

But they got the breakthrough in the 33rd minute.

Lewandowski went down in the area as he looked to escape the attentions of Marcel Tisserand and, after the referee pointed to the spot, the Pole dispatched the penalty low into the net.

Bayern doubled their advantage in fortunate circumstances 10 minutes later.

Robben advanced unchecked towards the area and his shot took a deflection off team-mate Rafinha to wrong-foot goalkeeper Koen Casteels.

Arnold was close to diverting a fizzing low cross from half-time substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski in at the near post as Wolfsburg started the second half on the front foot.

And the impressive midfielder pulled one back in the 56th minute.

The 23-year-old's free-kick from around 30 yards was well struck, but straight at Ulreich, who got his parry horribly wrong and succeeded only in palming the ball into his own net with his right hand.

Robben fired wide when clean through at the other end moments later.

Ribery then blazed over after a brilliant back heel from Thomas Muller presented him with a golden chance.

And those missed opportunities came back to haunt Bayern as Paul Verhaegh's cross from the right picked out the on-running Didavi, who guided an inch-perfect header in off the far post to earn his side an unlikely point.

German Bundesliga Standings

1 Borussia Dortmund 21 +31 50
2 Bayern Munich 22 +24 48
3 Borussia Monchengladbach 22 +20 43
4 RB Leipzig 22 +22 41
5 Bayer Leverkusen 22 +7 36
6 VfL Wolfsburg 22 +5 35
7 Eintracht Frankfurt 22 +13 34
8 TSG Hoffenheim 22 +12 33
9 Hertha Berlin 22 +3 32
10 Werder Bremen 22 +4 31
11 Mainz 22 -13 27
12 Fortuna Düsseldorf 22 -16 25
13 SC Freiburg 22 -8 24
14 Schalke 04 22 -7 23
15 FC Augsburg 22 -9 18
16 VfB Stuttgart 22 -32 15
17 Hannover 96 22 -27 14
18 Nurnberg 21 -29 12