Virus-stricken Bayern Munich return with 2-1 loss to Gladbach

Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich jumps ahead of a German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and Mönchengladbach at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany on Friday January 7, 2022 (AP Photo / Andreas Schaad)

Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich jumps ahead of a German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and Mönchengladbach at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany on Friday January 7, 2022 (AP Photo / Andreas Schaad)

PA

Bayern Munich lost at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 as the Bundesliga resumed despite absences due to the coronavirus on Friday.

The first game after the league’s winter break was uncertain due to a slew of infections at both clubs, with Bayern particularly hard hit. League officials have decided the club have enough strength in depth to play.

“The league needs to know what they are doing,” said Bayern forward Thomas Müller.

Robert Lewandowski got Bayern off to a good start with their 20th league goal, but Gladbach responded with two goals in four minutes thanks to Florian Neuhaus and Stefan Lainer and held on for the win. Gladbach also won his previous meeting – 5-0 in the German Cup in October.

The Bavarian powerhouse was deprived of nine players due to infections – Manuel Neuer, Lucas Hernández, Kingsley Coman, Alphonso Davies, Leroy Sané, Dayot Upamecano, Corentin Tolisso, Omar Richards and Tanguy Nianzou – while Bouna Sarr and Eric-Maxim Choupo -Moting are absent. at the African Cup. Leon Goretzka and Josip Stanišić retired due to injury.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann responded by calling in six players from the club’s second team and two 16-year-olds Arijon Ibrahimovic and Paul Wanner.

The latter follows in the 75th minute to become Bayern’s youngest player in the Bundesliga at 16 years and 15 days. Jamal Musiala was the club’s former youngest Bundesliga player at 17 years and 115 days old.

Forward Malik Tillman made his first league start, while Joshua Kimmich returned after a two-month absence due to complications from his infection.

“We had a lot of quality on the pitch,” said Müller, who regretted too many mistakes and a “bitter” defeat.

Bayern have shown no signs of a lack of players as they started intentionally amid the snowfall. Lewandowski was involved from the start and duly scored with a nice strike from inside the near post in the 18th minute.

But the visitors equalized with their first foray in the 27th, Neuhaus meeting Kimmich’s clearance attempt with a dropped kick past Sven Ulreich into Bayern’s goal.

Lainer got Gladbach’s second with a corner header from Luca Netz four minutes later.

Breel Embolo missed a good opportunity to make it 3-1 and Lewandowski hit the post from a narrow angle after passing a defender on the other end. Matthias Ginter cleared Müller’s effort on the rebound.

Sommer denied Musiala after the break when, once again, the home side made a better impression. Müller and Kimmich were the next to come close and Lewandowski hit the crossbar. It was as close as Bayern got closer.

“We were closer to victory,” Nagelsmann said. “We were stronger than the opponent and we still lost.”

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More AP football: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

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