Without much glamour, FC Bayern Munich has recaptured the top of the Bundesliga table and celebrated a proper dress rehearsal for the European Cup hit against Paris St. Germain. The record champions won at relegation-threatened VfB Stuttgart on Saturday evening with 2:1 (1:0) and moved because of the better goal difference again past the equal points Borussia from Dortmund in first place. Defender Matthijs de Ligt (39th minute) and striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting (62nd) scored the goals for Munich in front of 47,800 spectators.
In the second leg of the Champions League round of sixteen against PSG on Wednesday, however, they will have to improve. VfB remains in 15th place, but just like the new bottom team VfL Bochum, they only have 19 points. Juan José Perea's goal in the 88th minute came too late for the hosts. Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann ordered French central defender Dayot Upamecano back into the starting line-up in Stuttgart with a view to the Champions League firecracker. His compatriot Benjamin Pavard, who will be missing on Wednesday because of a suspension, had to go to the bench. But relaxed warm-up for PSG was initially out of the question.
VfB, who had suffered a major setback in the relegation battle with a 1-2 loss at FC Schalke 04 a week earlier, started briskly and tried to put the Munich team under pressure in their half. The Swabians, who had beaten Bayern 2-2 in each of the previous two league duels, were really dangerous in the first minutes. A long shot by Hiroki Ito, who ran up on the left defensive side of the hosts instead of the suspended Borna Sosa, flew just past the Bayern goal on the right (17th).
De Ligt takes centre stage twice
With increasing playing time, the record champions then gained more possession and a certain dominance. Leon Goretzka could have provided the Munich lead. His header from close range was parried by VfB keeper Fabian Bredlow but strongly (21.). Ten minutes later, Upamecano hammered the ball over the goal from two yards.
Then de Ligt was in the spotlight twice – first at the back, then at the front. After his goalkeeper Yann Sommer had lost an aerial duel against Konstantinos Mavropanos, the Bayern defender saved on the line (37.). Shortly afterwards, he simply pulled away from the second row – and scored. Bredlow may have seen the Dutchman's hidden flat shot late, but did not cut a good figure at the second goal of the season. On the other side, Silas missed the possible equalizer (43rd) with a fake shot.
At the beginning of the second half, the game was briefly interrupted because pyrotechnics had been burned in the guest fan block. Previously, the VfB supporters had already ignited abundantly. On the pitch there was the next eye-catcher after just over an hour: A combination initiated by the very eye-catching Jamal Musiala over three stations completed Choupo-Moting to 2:0. In the days before the game, the Cameroonian had extended his contract with Bayern until mid-2024 – and repaid the trust with another goal.
It was Munich's 100th Bundesliga away goal against Stuttgart. They are the first club to reach this mark in the Bundesliga with an opponent. For a long time it looked as if the game was decided. But Perea's header goal made Bayern tremble again at the end.