FC Union Berlin 1-5 Bayern Munich: Union are Müllered by Five star performance

15 years after his debut, Thomas Müller celebrated his 400th start for Bayern Munich with two goals as the former Bundesliga champions ran riot in Köpenick with an emphatic victory against Union Berlin.

Story of the match

After the highs of beating Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday, Head Coach, Thomas Tuchel, made six changes to the starting line-up, with Musiala rested, Leroy Sane and Serge Gantry injured, and De Light benched.

In came Minjae Kim, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, Mathys Tel, Alphonso Davis, Alexaksandar Pavlovic, whilst Thomas Muller made his 400th start.

In contrast, Union Berlin find themselves in a battle to avoid Bundesliga relegation.

With Mainz 05 still to play tomorrow, Union welcomed the former Bundesliga champions, just three points above the final relegation place.

Head Coach, Nenad Bjelica made three changes to the side that lost at Augsburg last weekend, with Kevin Volland, Robin Gosens, and Lucas Tousart returning to the starting line-up.

Momentum initially swung in favour of the visitors as Thomas Muller and Choupo-Moting had half chances but Union Berlin grew into the game.

Their first chance fell to Lucas Tousart, but his shot from distance on the right was palmed wide by Manuel Neuer for a corner.

In the 17th minute, Hollerbach raced through on goal but panicked and wasted a golden opportunity one-on-one with Neuer by hesitating and allowing Bayern’s defence to get organised.

The next big chance fell to Bayern in the 27th minute as a Harry Kane cross was floated into Leon Goretzka but his head sailed over the bar from eight yards.

A minute late, Goretzka made-amends.

From 12 yards, he took just two touches to send the ball past Frederik Rönnow and into the top right corner for his first goal since early March and only his fifth of the season.

Union Berlin were not deterred.

A few minutes later, Tousart unleashed a fierce shot from 25 yards that Neuer could only tip wide.

In the 40th minute, Robin Gosens nearly scored the goal of the season but again Neuer was on hand to spoil the fun.

A cross-field Christopher Trimmel cross was met on the left edge of the box by Gosens on the volley. His effort looked destined for the bottom corner but Neuer’s outstretched hand denied a spectacular goal.

Union looked the more likely to score next but Bayern were putting on a masterclass in clinical finishing.

In added time of the first half, Harry Kane fired a low free-kick past an off-balance Rönnow to extend the lead for his 33rd Bundesliga goal of the season.

The second half continued as the first ended after a brief delay to allow a colourful Pyro display to subside in the away end.

In the 51st, Muller scored a sumptuous volley at the back-post from a pin-point Choupo-Moting cross.

Union Berlin were chasing the game and Bayern picked their pockets for fourth on the hour mark.

A lazy Aissa Laidouni pass was intercepted and Kane set up Tel to finish smartly into the bottom left corner for his sixth goal of the season.

Bayern strikers were lining up for a goal but it was Müller who grabbed his second in the 65th minute with a delightful flicked header past Rönnow.

Union Berlin pushed for a consolation goal as chances fell to Brenden Aaronson and Mikel Kaufmann, but Bayern Munich were as formidable in defence as they were clinical in attack.

In added time, Yorbe Vertessen eventually scored the goal that Union deserved, much to the joy of the locals, but it was too little, too late.

The victory pulled Bayern three points clear of Stuttgart in third.

For Union Berlin, it is a nervy few weeks ahead.

A win for Mainz 05 could leave Union just two points above Bochum in the fight to avoid the final relegation spot.

Union have scored just one in the last four games and if they continue this trend, die Eisernen could fall from the Champions League to Germany’s second division in fewer than five months.

Moment of the Match

The match may be remembered for the 29th minute.

An incisive Mathys Tel pass was dummied by Thomas Muller into the path of Goretzka.

He took one touch out of his feet and sent his next touch into the top corner, kissing the crossbar as Rönnow watched on helpless.

However, Neuer’s save from Gosens in the 40th minute was perhaps more decisive as Union pushed for an equaliser.

The save kept Bayern ahead as Union piled on the pressure but soon the game was beyond them as Harry Kane’s free-kick a few minutes later sealed the victory.

Victories and defeats can turn on such moments and, worringly for Union Berlin, so can relegation and survival.

GGFN | Oscar O’Mara

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