Kane-less Bayern beat Wolfsburg to go second

rugby12 May 2024 18:21
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Thomas Tuchel © Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel's heavily changed Bayern Munich line-up made short work of Wolfsburg at home on Saturday, winning 2-0 to leapfrog Stuttgart into second spot.

Tuchel made eight changes to the side eliminated from the Champions League with a 2-1 loss at Real Madrid on Wednesday, with England captain Harry Kane ruled out with back issues and missing his first league match of the season.

If the England captain returns next week, Kane – currently on 36 league goals this season – will have just one match remaining to try and reach Robert Lewandowski's all-time record of 41.

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer was proud with his side for bouncing back after the disappointing and controversial loss to Real.

"We were in control for over 90 minutes and got into the game well, that was crucial," Neuer told DAZN.

"Real was difficult to deal with, today we had to ignore it - we did a good job of that."

Croatian midfielder Lovro Zvonarek, aged just 19, celebrated his first start by scoring after four minutes, while Leon Goretzka was set up by Thomas Mueller for a second goal just 10 minutes later.

The win sends Bayern, who already ceded the Bundesliga title to Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen in April, two points clear of Stuttgart in second with one game remaining.

Still unbeaten, Leverkusen can take a major step to becoming the first side to go a season without defeat in Bundesliga history by avoiding defeat at Bochum in Sunday's late game.

Currently on a streak of 49 games without loss, Leverkusen have two more league games to achieve the feat.

Four minutes after Goretzka's goal, Spain winger Bryan Zaragoza, also making his first league start for Bayern, thought he had he home side's third when he turned in a Mueller pass.

The goal was chalked off however with VAR finding Mueller offside in the build-up.

Bayern, who will finish the season without a trophy for the first time since 2012, gradually took the sting out of the match and handed further debuts in the final stages.

Israel goalkeeper Daniel Peretz came on late in the second half, replacing Bayern captain Manuel Neuer who was playing his 500th Bundesliga game, along with teenagers Matteo Perez Vinlof and Jonathan Asp-Jensen.

Neuer said the change was pre-planned and he was not injured.

"Daniel has given the team so much and shown good performances, he simply deserves to get minutes."

The loss means Ralph Hasenhuettl's Wolfsburg are yet to win in the Bavarian capital after 27 games.

Earlier on Sunday, Hoffenheim boosted their chances of qualifying for Europe with a 6-0 demolition of already relegated Darmstadt.

Both Ilhas Bebou and Maximilian Beier scored doubles with Pavel Kaderabek and former Liverpool centre-back Ozan Kabak adding goals against the last-placed team.