Last gasp Lewandowski saves Bayern in Berlin


Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski hit a 96th-minute equaliser to salvage Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin on Saturday and extended their lead in the Bundesliga table to eight points.

Bayern were seconds away from what would have been their second league defeat this season when Lewandowski fired home his 24th goal in all competitons to cancel out Vedad Ibisevic’s first-half strike.

“Robert Lewandowski is a fantastic player and very important for us,” enthused Bayern’s relieved coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“We’re happy, because it was a hard game.

“Hertha put in a good first half, but it was different after the break and we managed to create more pressure.”

It was a Champions League hangover for Bayern following Wednesday’s 5-1 hammering of Arsenal in the last 16 first leg as Ancelotti made four changes to the side that beat the Gunners.

Hertha went ahead on 21 minutes when Ibisevic ghosted in behind Bayern’s defence and deflected Marvin Plattenhardt’s free-kick past Manuel Neuer.

Despite enjoying more than 70 percent possession, Bayern struggled and Lewandowski’s equaliser only came deep into added time.

Thiago Alcantara’s free-kick found Ajren Robben on the edge of the area, his shot was blocked, but Lewandowski drilled home the rebound to deny Hertha a first win over Bayern in 12 attempts.

Second-placed RB Leipzig can close the gap behind Bayern when they play Borussia Moenchengladbach away on Sunday.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Lukasz Piszczek had a hand in all three goals as Borussia Dortmund bounced back from Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first-leg defeat at Benfica with a 3-0 trouncing of Wolfsburg at home.

Dortmund’s iconic south stand, nicknamed the ‘Gelbe Wand’ (Yellow Wall), which holds 25,000 fans, stood empty.

It was a German FA punishment after hooligans attacked visiting RB Leipzig fans, including families, earlier this month.

Dortmund went ahead when Wolfsburg defender Jeffrey Bruma headed Piszczek’s close-range cross into his own net on 20 minutes.

Poland international Piszczek added the second, heading home Ousmane Dembele’s cross on 48 minutes, and then set up Dembele for the third on 59 minutes.

Hoffenheim climbed to fourth with a 2-0 win at home to bottom side Darmstadt as ex-Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric scored both their goals.

Ten-man Eintracht Frankfurt dropped to fifth after their shock 2-0 defeat to strugglers Ingolstadt, who had Australia striker Mathew Leckie sent off and remain second from bottom. 

Ingolstadt took an early lead through French defender Romain Bregerie while Frankfurt finished the first half with 10 men.

Defender David Abraham was shown a red card when his clearance kick connected with Dario Lezcano’s chest on 35 minutes.

Frakfurt’s Japan midfielder Makoto Hasebe had a second-half penalty saved, then hit the crossbar from the follow-up, and Pascal Gross scored Ingolstadt’s second goal from a penalty at the other end 13 minutes later.

Ingolstadt also played with a man less for the last 10 minutes after Leckie was shown a straight red for a similar foul to Abraham — accidentally kicking an opponent.

Relegation-threatened Werder Bremen escaped the bottom three with a 2-0 win at Mainz.

Ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry gave Bremen the lead with a towering header on 16 minutes before Denmark international Thomas Delaney slammed home a free-kick to double the lead seven minutes later.

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