Bayern Munich extended their lead at the Bundesliga summit to four points with goals from Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané to secure a 2-1 victory over hard-fought Werder Bremen.
Taking advantage of Borussia Dortmund’s mistake in Bochum last week, Bayern knew their 11th consecutive league title was in their hands when they traveled to the Weserstadion on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel’s stuttering start at Bayern seemed set to continue as Werder Bremen held out for over an hour, but Gnabry broke the hosts’ resistance from close range before Sané completed a smooth run to make it 2-0.
Although a stunning strike from Niklas Schmidt ensured a nervous finish, Bayern continued to put pressure on Borussia ahead of the Wolfsburg meeting on Sunday.
Jiri Pavlenko saved Gnabry’s shot from a tight angle early in the game, and in the 20th minute he saved even better a header from Benjamin Pavard, who landed a header from close range.
Werder made threats at half-time when Mitchell Weiser came close to converting a cross from Romano Schmid and Christian Gross shot at the end of the maze.
Gnabry underestimated an overhead kick as Bayern’s pressure intensified after the restart and then tossed Sadio Mane into narrow width with a side leg.
It was Gnabry who made the breakthrough when Bayern seemed to be running out of ideas. The German international lost his marker to hit home from close range after Jamal Musiala’s shot deflected in his path.
10 minutes later, Bayern widened their lead when substitute Sane shot into the bottom left corner.
A tight final lay ahead with Schmidt hitting the top right corner from long range, but Bayern stood their ground to take a huge step towards retaining their title.
All three points went to Munich
#SVVFKB 1-2 pic.twitter.com/ErpG1orvRR
— FC Bayern Munich (@FCBayernEN) May 6, 2023
What does it mean? Bayern finally found stability
Bayern were hoping to avoid further twists and turns in the title race after beating Dortmund last week. Since the 2007/08 season, the team that leads the Bundesliga table after the 30th round has always been the champion.
Despite late fears, Bayern have won consecutive victories for the first time under Tuchel and they are firmly in the lead ahead of Dortmund’s clash with Wolfsburg.
Leaders spread the load
Bayern’s attempts to replace Robert Lewandowski have drawn much criticism this season, while an injury to Erik Maxim Choupo-Moting left the champions without a striker for Saturday’s game, forcing the support squad to step up.
None of Gnabry’s teammates can surpass his tally of 11 league goals this season, and he is one of only three players to reach double figures for the Bavarian giants, along with Musiala (11) and Choupo-Moting (10).
Meanwhile, Sane scored eight goals despite starting in just 18 of Bayern’s 31 matches.
Kimmich pulling the strings
In a game that required patience for Bayern, Joshua Kimmich shone with his metronomic midfield mastery.
The FC Bayern alternate captain led all players on the pitch in chances created (four) and passes completed (78) while he was in charge, also capturing 113 touches.
In the next Bundesliga game next Saturday, Bayern will host relegation-threatened Schalke, with Werder Bremen going to RB Leipzig a day later.