Late Lewandowski penalty saves below-par Bayern Munich

Bayern struggled until a handball by Augsburg defender Reece Oxford resulted in the penalty which Lewandowski tucked away eight minutes from time.

Image: Imago/PA Images

Updated Apr 9th 2022, 8:09 PM

A LATE ROBERT Lewandowski penalty spared Bayern Munich after a below-par performance in their 1-0 home win over Augsburg, three days before a crucial Champions League tie against Villarreal.

Bayern struggled at the Allianz Arena until a handball by Augsburg defender Reece Oxford resulted in the penalty which Lewandowski tucked away eight minutes from time.

Bayern host Villarreal on Tuesday in the Champions League quarter-final, second leg having lost the first match 1-0 away last Wednesday.

Leon Goretzka has vowed Bayern Munich will improve on Saturday’s shaky 1-0 home win over Augsburg, three days before their crucial Champions League tie against Villarreal.

“The first half was not good from us,” admitted Bayern midfielder Goretzka. “The intensity was missing.

“We will have to improve on Tuesday — and that’s what we will do. The place will be on fire. Then we will deliver a performance that is Bayern-like.”

Saturday’s win edged Bayern closer to a 10th straight league title, extending their lead to nine points over second-placed Borussia Dortmund who beat Stuttgart 2-0 on Friday.

Lewandowski has netted 32 league goals this season, leaving him poised to be the Bundesliga top-scorer for the fifth consecutive campaign.

Thomas Mueller, meanwhile, reached the landmark of 300 Bundesliga wins, a record for a player at a single club.

Yet the milestone statistics failed to disguise Bayern’s poor display.

In the wake of Wednesday’s first-leg defeat at Villarreal, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said he had no more “tolerance for wobbles and slip-ups”.

Yet until Lewandowski’s spot-kick, this was another disjointed, stuttering performance.

Bayern barely created a shot in the first half under pressure from Augsburg who stunned their Bavarian rivals when the clubs met last November.

Teenager Jamal Musiala came on at half-time, before wingers Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman also came off the bench.

The injection of pace paid off as Bayern looked far more dangerous.

Joshua Kimmich forced a superb diving save from Augsburg goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz with an hour gone.

After the ball clipped Oxford’s hand from a cross, Lewandowski secured the three points.

“We’re in a phase of the season where we don’t have to shine, just win,” added Nagelsmann.

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- Union dominate Berlin derby -

Union ran riot in the Berlin derby by hammering hosts Hertha 4-1 in front of a sell-out crowd of 74,667 at the Olympic Stadium.

Japan midfielder Genki Haraguchi gave the visitors a first-half lead with a superb header only for Hertha to equalise when Union defender Timo Baumgartl turned the ball into his own net.

Union turned the screw on relegation-threatened Hertha, who are second from bottom, with three unanswered goals.

Grischa Proemel headed Union back into the lead, then Sheraldo Becker claimed a brilliant individual goal before replacement striker Sven Michel hit the fourth five minutes from time.

This is the third time Union have beaten Hertha this season – twice in the league and also away in the German Cup last January.

Elsewhere, Cologne came back from behind to grab a 3-2 home win over Mainz with Luca Kilian hitting the late winner to claim his first Bundesliga goal.

Wolfsburg ended a run of three defeats with a 4-0 home win over Arminia Bielefeld, whose defender Cedric Brunner had to be stretchered off following a head injury.

Borussia Moenchengladbach pulled away from the relegation battle and into mid-table with a 2-0 win at bottom side Greuther Fuerth.

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