Mario Gomez’s 38th minute tap-in was just enough for Bayern Munich to grind out a 1-0 victory over a spirited 1899 Hoffenheim at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
Bayern put in a disappointing performance but did just enough to win thanks to Gomez’s goal that was created by good play from Franck Ribery.
Hoffenheim showed signs of life in the second half but remain embroiled in a relegation battle thanks to the loss.
Bayern went into the game in confident mood after soundly defeating rivals Borussia Dortmund in their last outing, and started strongly here. Javi Martinez should have done much better with a volley from 30 yards, but blazed the ball well over.
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free-kick from range was on target in the ninth minute, but former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes made a good save to keep the score-line level.
Danny Williams impressed for the home side and had two chances in the same amount of minutes during the first half. He should have hit the target from ten yards but fired wide while a minute later, his long range rocket sizzled past the left post by inches as the home fans roared on their heroes.
Thomas Muller started for the Bundesliga leaders and nearly set up the opening goal for his fellow German, Gomez. Muller’s cross was superbly headed towards goal by the 27-year-old but the ball fell wide of the post to the disappointment of Jupp Heynckes.
He wasn’t disappointed for long though as Gomez gave Bayern the lead. Jerome Boateng’s dipping pass was headed across goal by Ribery, leaving Gomes in no man’s land and the German striker slammed home into the empty net from four yards.
Muller was pulling the strings for the away side and superbly played in his captain, Philip Lahm but Gomes was on hand to make a stunning save to deny the full-back. Just after, Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected shot flashed wide as Bayern upped the pressure to end the first half.
Up the other end, Tom Schaken, who replaced the rested Manuel Neuer, made a good diving save to keep out Williams’ left-footed shot from just inside the penalty area. However, the second half came with Hoffenheim still behind.
They tried to change that very early though, as Igor de Camargo found Philipp Ochs, but the 29-year-old failed to give Shaken a difficult test as the goalkeeper made an easy save. Just after, Bayern nearly doubled their advantage.
Schweinsteiger tried his luck from range with a free-kick again and went much closer than his first half effort as the ball rebounded back off of the crossbar to the dismay of the Bayern fans.
Gomes was keeping his side in the game with a number of stunning saves, including a close-range stop to deny Gomez after a good pass from Ribery. He also denied David Alaba in the closing stages, but it was another Schweinsteiger free-kick that went closest to scoring.
This time the German midfielder whacked the ball into the post from 25 yards, but his side held out to win and remain 17 points clear at the top of the table.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)