Bayern sinks minnow Union Berlin on Bundesliga resumption

The Polish international marked the opening of the 40th minute from the penalty spot as the Bavarian giant won 2-0 on Sunday, his 40th of the season in just 34 league and cup matches for Bayern.

French defender Benjamin Pavard came home in the second minute in the 80th minute to seal the visitor’s victory to take Bayern four points behind Borussia Dortmund, 4-0 against Schalke in the resumption of the Bundesliga on Saturday after a hiatus two months.

Before the league was halted by the coronavirus pandemic, the bold performances of the Union Berlin had been one of the talking points of the season, the promoted side hitting well above its weight, with victories at home on title contenders Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Bayern were also supposed to feel the heat after a capacity of 22,000 people on Alten Foersterei’s unique pitch, but with the match played behind closed doors and with the same sterile atmosphere that marked other matches on restart, it proved that all too easy for the league leader.

Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich celebrates the opening of the penalty spot score against the Union Berlin at the Stadion An der Alten Foersterei.

Union Berlin started well to force a few early openings, but later Bayern’s superior quality allowed Hansi Flick’s team to control the game and dominate possession.

Bayern thought they had taken the lead thanks to Thomas Mueller, but their 17th minute effort was correctly ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee (VAR).

The breakthrough came after Union defender Neven Subotic clumsily shot Leon Goretzka to concede a penalty that the murderer Lewandowski had easily converted.

It was his 26th league goal of the season and totally eliminated the sting of the home team, who offered little in return with top scorer Sebastian Andersson who remained on the bench until the last moments.

The second half was almost a floor training exercise for Bayern, with excellent Pavard sealing the three points with a neat corner head from Joshua Kimmich, briefly hugging David Alaba in violation of the new guidelines as he celebrated his third goal of the season.

Benjamin Pavarde embraces David Alaba after scoring Bayern's second goal and the deciding goal in the 2-0 victory over Union Berlin.

All of this was far from the intimidating atmosphere that has hosted other visiting teams this season, with only a maximum of 300 people, mostly players, officials and media, allowed into the stadium.

Bayern pillar Mueller admitted that the lack of Union supporters had helped his team. “It was a bit like the atmosphere you get for the old man’s football at 7 p.m. in the spotlight, but as soon as the ball started to roll, the game caught our attention.” He said.

Before the match, the police were also on patrol in the woods near the ground to prevent fans from gathering, and the nearby Koepenick station was quiet, unlike the usual busy scenes of the day.

The stewards wearing protective masks sit in the vacant stands of the home stadium of Union Berlin, all Bundesliga matches until the end of the season taking place behind closed doors.

While viewers have been sidelined by the new restrictions, the cover of the cover television has attracted record audiences for Sky Germany.

Saturday’s match round drew more than six million viewers, according to the specialist website, more than double the usual figure after a two-month hiatus.

Earlier on Sunday, struggling Mainz returned from two goals to recover a precious point in a 2-2 draw in Cologne.

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