Bayern Munich, hit by covid-19, crashed into Borussia Moenchengladbach at home 2-1 on Friday and Bundesliga leaders were forced to name a makeshift team after nine stars tested positive for the coronavirus. . Robert Lewandowski scored his 20th goal in the league this season to give Bayern an early lead, but Gladbach responded with two goals in four minutes of the first half from Florian Neuhaus and Stefan Lainer. “Gladbach is not our favorite opponent,” forward Thomas Mueller said when Bayern had already lost 5-0 at Gladbach in the German Cup last October.
“It is bitter to lose, but we have to swallow defeat.”
Mueller refused to blame the loss on his exhausted squad.
“We had a lot of quality on the field and we shouldn’t have given away so much possession in the last third of the field,” he said.
“The worst thing is, we didn’t waste our chances,” Mueller admitted after he twice came close to drawing it in the second half.
Despite the closed-door defeat in Munich, Bayern are still nine points ahead of the table, but second-placed Borussia Dortmund can close the gap at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Gladbach climbed three places in the table to 11th, but still remains only five points behind the bottom three places.
With so many of his stars out of the game by covid, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann named a patched squad with six reserve team players on the bench, while 19-year-old forward Malik Tillman started his first match. of the Bundesliga.
He was replaced in the second half by Paul Wanner, who at 16 years and 15 days became the youngest Bayern player to debut in the German league after being called up by the club’s Under-19s.
German star Joshua Kimmich, who missed the previous two months with Covid, played as a right-back with another defensive midfielder, Marcel Sabitzer, named to the left of the defense.
Gladbach also lost American defender Joe Scally and Swiss midfielder Denis Zakaria, who also tested positive for covid.
Bayern took a well-deserved lead in winter conditions when Lewandowski hammered an unstoppable shot inside the post that passed goalkeeper Yann Sommer with 18 minutes remaining.
Gladbach leveled as the visitors knocked down Bayern’s defense and moved the ball to Neuhaus, who fired past Bayern substitute goalkeeper Sven Ulreich.
Starting goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is under quarantine in the Maldives after testing positive for Covid-19 on vacation.
Ulreich was again beaten from a corner shortly after when Lainer headed in with half an hour to play.
Neuhaus and Swiss forward Breel Embolo squandered opportunities to extend Gladbach’s lead, while at the other end Lewandowski cut the post with an impressive shot on target.
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Bayern dominated long stretches of the second half with Jamal Musiala, Mueller and Kimmich agonizingly close, while Lewandowski hit the wood again, but Gladbach held on.