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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Bayern survive penalty drama as Nuremberg keep Dortmund in title hunt

Bayern had the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table with three games to go after title rivals Borussia Dortmund lost 4-2 to Schalke on Saturday.

football Updated: Apr 28, 2019 23:57 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
Berlin
Bayern's Robert Lewandowski, top right, jumps for the ball with Nuremberg's Patrick Erras, top left.
Bayern's Robert Lewandowski, top right, jumps for the ball with Nuremberg's Patrick Erras, top left.(AP)
         

A late penalty miss from Tim Leibold spared Bayern Munich a humiliating defeat at Nuremberg on Sunday but Niko Kovac’s Bundesliga leaders missed the chance to pull away in the title race with a dramatic 1-1 draw at the relegation strugglers.

Bayern had the chance to go four points clear at the top of the table with three games to go after title rivals Borussia Dortmund lost 4-2 to Schalke on Saturday.

Yet there was another twist in the tale on Sunday, as a disciplined Nuremberg side kept Bayern at bay for long periods to earn a well-deserved point and keep Dortmund’s title hopes alive.

Leibold had the chance to win the game for the relegation-threatened side late on, but thundered his penalty against the post.

Bayern looked nervous from the offset, and nearly went behind when goalkeeper Sven Ulreich misjudged a backpass from Mats Hummels in the first half.

Matheus Pereira put Nuremberg ahead with a brilliant strike from the edge of the area in the 48th minute.

Gnabry grabbed a scrappy equaliser with 15 minutes to go, scuffing the ball over the goalkeeper Christian Mathenia at the far post.

- Baumann blunder -

There was further acrimony for Bayern when James Rodriguez was substituted off just before the equaliser and walked straight down the tunnel.

The Colombian, who has had a rocky relationship with coach Kovac this season, had only come on 15 minutes earlier, and did not appear to be injured.

It was Rodriguez’s replacement Alphonso Davies who gave away the late penalty with a handball.

Kingsley Coman could have won the game for Bayern when he broke free of the defence in the dying minutes, but fired the ball straight at Mathenia.

Bayern are now two points ahead of Dortmund with three games to go. They face a tough trip to RB Leipzig in two weeks time before hosting top four side Eintracht Frankfurt on the last day of the season.

In Sunday’s earlier game, Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann fluffed two routine saves as his side lost 4-1 to Wolfsburg and missed the chance to move within a point of the top four.

The usually reliable Baumann was beaten at his near post by Wout Weghorst and Maximilian Arnold as Wolfsburg came from behind to win 4-1.

Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric missed a penalty after Adam Szalai had given them the lead, and Wolfsburg’s William curled in a superb equaliser.

Baumann’s mistakes, and a late second goal for Weghorst sealed the win for Wolfsburg, which brings them to within a points of Hoffenheim in eighth.

“It is really annoying because I saved pretty much everything else,” Baumann told Sky.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side remain on course for a Europa League berth in seventh, but are four points adrift of the top four.

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