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PIX: Bayern held to third straight draw; Barcelona win

January 29, 2023 09:18 IST

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller is tackled by Makoto Hasebe of Eintracht Frankfurt during the Bundesliga match at Allianz Arena in Munich, on Saturday. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Bayern Munich stumbled to a 1-1 draw against visiting Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday to leave them with only a slim Bundesliga lead after being held for the third game in a row with the same scoreline.


The result left the reigning champions one point ahead of second-placed Union Berlin, who now have 36 points after beating Hertha 2-0 in the Berlin derby.

RB Leipzig are in third spot on 35 following Friday's 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart, with Frankfurt in fifth with 32.

Bayern, who visit Paris St Germain on Feb. 14 in the Champions League last 16, have had a turbulent few weeks.

The club frantically searched for a replacement for injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and signed Yann Sommer only a day before last week's season restart draw with RB Leipzig.

They then fired goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic, who is also a close friend of Neuer, and then had to reprimand winger Serge Gnabry for flying to Paris to attend a fashion event before yet another draw in midweek against Cologne.

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's players celebrate after Leroy Sane gave his team the lead in the 34th minute. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

With Gnabry left on the bench on Saturday, Bayern looked sharper than their opponents in the first half and went in front when Leroy Sane rifled in from a Thomas Mueller assist in the 34th minute.

Eintracht defended well in the second half but were largely anonymous until Daichi Kamada fed Randal Kolo Muani in the box and the forward beat France team mate Dayot Upamecano in a one-on-one to drill in a 69th-minute equaliser with his seventh league goal this season.

"In order to win the big games you have to play the smaller games in such a way so as to have a good run," Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said.

"We no longer have a lot of time until the big games in order to hit our stride. It was no special performance. There are many points we need to improve that we keep discussing such as playing faster and not always over the wings."

The Bavarians, chasing a record-extending 11th straight league title, had a treble chance to score before the equaliser but eventually ran out of gas against fellow Champions League club Eintracht.

Second-bottom Hertha sacked sports director Fredi Bobic after their derby defeat, having lost six of their last seven matches. They have 14 points from 18 games, two adrift of the safety zone.

Pedri's strike gives Barcelona victory

IMAGE: Pedri celebrates scoring the goal for Barcelona against Girona. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Pedri celebrated his 100th match for Barcelona as he came off the bench and scored from close range in the second-half to give the LaLiga leaders a hard-fought 1-0 win at Girona on Saturday.

The 20-year-old scored in the 61st minute after the goalkeeper failed to hold on to a Jordi Alba cross following a series of other mistakes by the Girona defence.

Barcelona are top of the standings on 47 points, six ahead of bitter rivals Real Madrid, who have a game in hand and will host third-placed Real Sociedad on Sunday. Girona are 12th on 21 points.

With forwards Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres suspended and midfielder Pedri recovering from muscle discomfort, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez opted to rotate his side on a chilly afternoon at Montilivi.

He rested key players such as Andreas Christensen and Alejandro Balde, while former Manchester City defender Eric Garcia started for the first time in more than three months.

Pedri, however, was called into action sooner than he would have expected after Ousmane Dembele was substituted with what looked like a muscle injury in the 25th minute.

Despite having almost 70% of possession in the first half, Barcelona struggled to break the deadlock against Girona’s low block.

It was not until the 40th minute that Barca had their first shot on target, when Pedri’s tame strike was easily held by the goalkeeper.

Girona were remarkably disciplined in defence, remaining compact in a deep position, comfortably defending the space in front of goal to frustrate Barcelona’s forwards.

Pedri eventually broke the deadlock, pouncing as keeper Paulo Gazzaniga could not gather a low cross, leaving the Barca midfielder free to tap home at the far post.

Girona had an Arnau Martinez effort ruled-out in the 65th minute and wasted a golden opportunity to equalise in the 88th when Ivan Martin missed a sitter from close range as they made a late push for a point.

Barcelona finished the match with only three shots on target, having made the most of their only clear opportunity.

"I believe that in these games you have to win it in any way possible," Barcelona defender Jules Kounde told DAZN.

"It is true that we can play better, but in these games winning is very important."

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