Bayern Munich came back to draw 3-3 against newly-promoted Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga.
Even though Bayern only arrived home from Club World Cup final victory a few days prior, it still seemed improbable that relegation-threatened Bielefeld would get a result until Anderlecht loanee Michel Vlap shocked them early on with a masterful turn and finish to score within the first 10 minutes of his debut.
Undeterred by the bouts of heavy snow that caused breaks in play to clear it off the pitch markings with shovels, Bielefeld went two goals ahead in the 37th minute thanks to Vlap’s delivery from a corner being headed home by the unmarked Amos Pieper.
Chelsea ready £50m Lewandowski transfer move - report
After half-time, a reinvigorated Bayern pulled a goal back almost immediately through Robert Lewandowski, who took a touch on the turn and volleyed the ball into the net.
Remarkably, Bielefeld made it 3-1 just a minute later when substitute Christian Gebauer netted from Andreas Voglsammer’s low, fizzing pass cross-goal pass.
But Bayern’s fightback got back on track soon afterwards when Corentin Tolisso made a great run to head Leroy Sane’s cross past Stefan Ortega.
They then finally got their equaliser in the 69th minute through a powerful half-volley from the onrushing Alphonso Davies after Bielefeld struggled to clear Sane’s cross.
It was all too little too late though as the Bundesliga leaders failed to make their pressure count for more, thus having their gap at the top of the table narrowed down to five points ahead of their Saturday encounter with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Arminia now go equal on points with 15th place Hertha Berlin and have a game in hand too.
FC Bayern - Arminia Bielefeld | Michel Vlap trifft zum 1:0
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Upamecano can't come soon enough
Yesterday Bayern Munich completed the signing of RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano after meeting his reported release clause of £38million and today’s defensive performance from the newly-crowned world champions shows that his arrival cannot come soon enough.
With Jerome Boateng out due to personal reasons, Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez have been the centre-back duo of choice for the past two games. While the former is considered sluggish and inconsistent, the latter is better at left-back where he faces stiff competition from Alphonso Davies.
Bayern have long had an admirable amount of positional flexibility compared to other teams, with Joshua Kimmich, David Alaba, Benjamin Pavard and Javi Martinez all able to play centre back too, but the value of having an out-and-out centre-back who is debatably the best young player in the world in his position cannot be understated.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)
After enjoying his first full-season at the Allianz Arena last year, the Canadian left-back has been hampered by injury this time around and had to fight off increased competition from Hernandez too. His performances tonight and against Tigres have reminded everyone why he was earning such rave reviews last season.
Although he was caught sleeping for Bielefeld's third goal, playing Voglsammer onside, he defended brilliantly with skill and composure. Due to his background of playing as a winger he has the technical ability and pace to cause problems in attack too and his equalising goal on the half-volley was a world-class finish with his only shot of the game. His 96% pass completion and the fact he was successful in most of his duels and dribbles further highlights his all-round ability.
Bayern Munich: Neuer 5, Sarr 5, Sule 5, Hernandez 6, Davies 8, Tolisso 7, Alaba 7, Choupo-Moting 5, Sane 8, Coman 7, Lewandowski 7. Subs: Kimmich 6
Arminia Bielefeld: Ortega 6, Brunner 5, Pieper 7, Nilsson 5, Laursen 6, Prietl 6, Kunze 6, Vlap 8, Voglsammer 7, Doan 5, Klos 6.Subs: Gebauer 7, Cordova 6, Seufert 6, Van der Hoorn N/A
9' - GOAL!!! NO WAY! Bielefeld have a throw-in with which they find Voglsammer. He threads it through to Vlap, who produces a wonderful turn and finish to score on his debut and put the underdogs 1-0 ahead!
37' - GOAL!!! Vlap floats in a lovely delivery from the corner and both Alaba and Sule lose track of Pieper, who heads home unmarked to make it 2-0 to Bielefeld! This is incredible! The snow has stopped but the goals haven't.
48' - GOAL!!! And just like that the comeback is on! Who else but Lewandowski to step up to the plate? A brilliant run from Coman down the left sets up Sane but his shot comes off Ortega's hand onto the post. Alaba then sends a ball back in and it's a glorious finish from Lewandowski who takes a touch on the turn and fires into the back of the net on the volley.
49' - GOAL!!! WHAT ON EARTH?! There's just no stopping Arminia Bielefeld tonight! Voglsammer is played onside by Davies on the other flank, outpaces Sarr and fizzes in a cross-goal pass along the floor for the sub Gebauer to slide home and make it 3-1! What a game.
57' - GOAL!!! Sane has been threatening with his left-footed crosses in from the right all game and now it's finally come off, as Tolisso heads home to put Bayern only one goal behind.
69' - GOAL!!! What a finish from Davies to equalise! Sane charges down the right but his cross is cleared before the onrushing Davies finds the back of the net in spectacular fashion on the half volley! It'd be very surprising if Bayern don't go on to win this now.
72' - CLOSE!!! Mazy, intricate run from Lewandowski inside the box but he doesn't connect properly with his shot. Ortega parries it up to him awkwardly and he somehow heads it slightly to the wrong side of the post. Bizarre sequence of play!
73' - GOAL DISALLOWED!! Cordova heads the ball into space for Klos, who pulls it back for him to slot home but it's been flagged offside! There's a VAR check though and some suggestion that Cordova's flick on may have taken the slightest deflection off Sule, but the on-field referee's decision is upheld and it stays 3-3.
City turn transfer attention to Lewandowski - report
Transfer Notebook: Spurs chase Kessie, Bayern 'serious' about Doku