MUNICH (AP) — Bayern Munich opened up a four-point lead in the Bundesliga on Sunday as the German champion beat Freiburg 2-1 to return to winning ways after two rare defeats, while Luka Jovic scored twice in his first game back with Eintracht Frankfurt on loan from Real Madrid.
Thomas Müller knocked in the winning goal in the 74th minute on a snowy day in Munich to avoid a third winless game in a row, which would have been a record under coach Hansi Flick. The victory came after a 3-2 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the league and elimination from the German Cup on penalties against second-division Holstein Kiel.
Even after Bayern slipped up, its title rivals have failed to take advantage. When Bayern lost to Gladbach last week, second-place Leipzig lost to Borussia Dortmund and followed up Saturday with a draw at Wolfsburg. Third-place Bayer Leverkusen and fourth-place Dortmund are in similarly mixed recent form.
After Bayern had an early penalty appeal for handball turned down on video review, Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern the lead in the seventh minute when he found space in the penalty area from a Müller pass.
Lewandowski had another shot deflected onto the crossbar in the 59th. Shortly after, Freiburg won a corner and substitute Nils Petersen scored with his first touch of the game at the far post with a diving header. That meant Bayern has conceded at least one goal in 11 Bundesliga games in a row since October.
With Bayern seemingly heading for a draw, Leroy Sané directed a Kingsley Coman cross on for Müller to score with a low shot, adding a goal to his earlier assist. Petersen hit the crossbar for Freiburg in stoppage time.
Ninth-place Freiburg is waiting for news of an apparently serious knee injury suffered by French midfielder Baptiste Santamaria, who became the club’s record signing from Angers for a reported fee of 10 million euros ($12 million) in September.
JOVIC BACK WITH A BANG
Serbian striker Jovic’s loan move back to Frankfurt, confirmed Thursday, is meant to help him rediscover his scoring touch after he dropped out of Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane’s first-team plans.
Within 10 minutes of coming off the bench, Jovic volleyed in a goal off a Filip Kostic cross in Frankfurt’s 3-1 win over relegation-threatened Schalke. It was his first club goal since scoring in Madrid’s 4-1 win over Osasuna last February, and his 37th in 76 career games for Frankfurt. Jovic beat defender Ozan Kabak to score his second and extend Frankfurt’s lead in stoppage time.
Andre Silva gave Frankfurt the lead in the 28th minute with a smart turn and shot after Schalke defender Sead Kolasinac, on loan from Arsenal, gave away the ball. Schalke responded almost immediately as U.S. striker Matthew Hoppe beat the offside trap to level the score with his fourth goal in two games.
It was the first game back for Jovic and the last for Frankfurt captain David Abraham. The 34-year-old center-back is retiring from professional soccer to spend more time with his family in Argentina after the coronavirus pandemic meant he saw little of his young son. Frankfurt climbed to seventh and Schalke is 18th and last.
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