Bayern Munich bounced back from two defeats in a row by beating Freiburg 2-1 on a snowy afternoon in Bavaria.
Robert Lewandowski struck early with the hosts looking to put their recent defeats to Holstein Kiel and Borussia Monchengladbach behind them. However, Freiburg refused to go away and substitute Nils Petersen stooped lowest on 70 minutes to net an unlikely equaliser with his first touch.
But it would be in vain: Thomas Muller, ever-reliable for the champions, profited from a Leroy Sane knockdown off a Kingsley Coman cross, and the experienced attacking midfielder fired the Bavarians back into the lead, and more pertinently, to the three points.
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The home side started in a scintillating manner; Serge Gnabry particularly bright off the right flank, whilst Muller picked up the pockets of space where no central defender wants to go.
A wonderful passing passage, full of zip and interchange, saw Joshua Kimmich, Gnabry, Muller and Lewandowski combine to score a sensational team goal, and stun the in-form away side, who had earlier suffered the injury of key midfielder Baptiste Santamaria.
Gnabry hobbled off injured himself on half an hour, and Sane replaced him, but Bayern retained their energy and creativity, despite a mid-game drop-off that saw Petersen exploit a continued weakness at set-plays for the league leaders.
Muller. however, had the last laugh, striking a fatal blow into Freiburg hearts as the champions held on for the win, which takes them four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table.
FC Bayern München | Jubel über das 2:1 gegen Freiburg von Thomas Müller
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - UNDERLYING ISSUES STILL PRESENT FOR CHAMPIONS
They may have started the game with a crash and a bang, but the drop off seen in the performance was clear to comprehend as Bayern struggled to hold on as Freiburg grew into the game.
The loss of Gnabry was big - he was their liveliest by a long way - and it would take Sane a while to get up to speed having come off the bench.
Poignant highlights were Gnabry's piledriver from range which was well-saved by Florian Muller, Kimmich's ability to orchestrate the game a little better when faith was restored, and Muller putting Bayern back in the ascendancy.
Benjamin Pavard was shaky at right-back, and there was miscommunication between the other members of the Bayern defence, particularly between Alphonso Davies and Manuel Neuer on numerous occasions.
Jerome Boateng nor David Alaba looked especially comfortable as the visitors pushed for a late equaliser.
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MAN OF THE MATCH - ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI, BAYERN MUNICH
If I could give it to Gnabry for a half-hour cameo, I would, but who else?
The Polish international broke Gerd Muller's record of 21 goals in 15 Bundesliga games, and his finish was smart in the early moments of the game, signifying how sharp his touch is at present.
His hold-up play was exemplary, and his awareness and link-up play with Muller and Kimmich was clear to see. He couldn't quite make the most of a few crosses that came his way, but when having to deal with a back three by himself predominantly, coming away with a goal, a man of the match performance and a victory is all you can ask for.
It was an excellent performance capped by another exquisite finish.
Bayern: Neuer 6, Pavard 5, Boateng 6, Alaba 6, Davies 6, Kimmich 7, Goretzka 7, Coman 6, Muller 7, Gnabry 9. Lewandowski 9, Sane 6, Tolisso 6, Musiala 6, C-Moting 6.
Freiburg: Muller 7, Lienhart 6, Schlotterbeck 8, Gulde 6, Kubler 6, Santamaria 6, Hofler 6, Gunter 6, Sallai 6, Demirovic 6, Grifo 6, Abrashi 6, Haberer 6, Tempelmann 6, Holer 6, Petersen 7.
7': WHAT A GOAL. Such slick play from the hosts, carving their visitors open. A penetrating pass from Boateng, Gnabry finds Muller off the right, and the first time pass slices through the Freiburg back three, and Lewandowski gobbles it up. Scintillating.
17': CLOSE! That's much better from Freiburg! A neat move, driving down the left from Gunter, and a touch back from Demetrovic finds Salloi, who can only stroke the ball wide of the far post! What a chance!
25': Again, Gnabry is looking lively. Pavard's decoy overlap allows the German inside, and he chops onto his left, unleashing a piledriver that Muller is equal to. Corner.
62': OHHHHHH!!!!! Petersen! With his first touch! Bayern undone with a set piece, off the flick on at the near, it's Petersen stooping low at the far, and Freiburg are level out of nothing! 1-1!
74': GOAL! Bayern are back in charge here - Sane's knock down after Coman's cross falls to Thomas Muller, and the league leaders are back on top.
90': Four minutes for Freiburg to try and force the issue... Petersen, however!!! Underside of the bar! My goodness!!
Robert Lewandowski, as aforementioned, broke the Bundesliga record for most goals scored halfway through a single season: netting 21 for the league campaign in just 15 games
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