A second-half equalizing goal from RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg helped RB Leipzig lead Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw at home on Friday in the first Bundesliga game since the winter break.
Bayern looked set for their seventh consecutive Bundesliga win after striker Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting scored in the 37th minute, but Halstenberg equalized in the 52nd minute.
Veteran Bayern striker Thomas Mueller had a chance to win the game in stoppage time with a point-blank shot, but his effort narrowly missed.
Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann regretted his side’s conceding of a “totally unnecessary goal” but said a point was “worth a bit more” for his team than for Leipzig, considering the teams’ relative positions in the table. table.
“Leipzig played a strong game and both teams played a bit wildly, but at the end of the day we can live with the draw.”
A combination of rusting after a ten-week break and sub-zero temperatures meant both sides struggled to find a rhythm from the start.
Central defender Josko Gvardiol, one of the rising stars of the World Cup, nearly scored an own goal on seven minutes when his attempt to stifle Serge Gnabry’s cross hit the post.
Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka headed the ball into the back of the net after 31 minutes, but the goal was disallowed due to a narrow offside against Munich centre-back Matthijs de Ligt in build-up.
The reigning champions entered the board soon after through Cameroonian striker Choupo-Moting, who with Gnabry’s cross past the outstretched arm of Leipzig goalkeeper Janis Blaswich to score his 11th goal in ten games in all competitions.
Leipzig shook off the cobwebs to regain parity shortly after halftime when Halstenberg sidekicked a Dominik Szoboszlai header to score his first goal of the season.
The goal sparked the most dominant period of the game for Leipzig, with the home team frequently threatening Bayern on the counter as the visitors pressed to regain the lead.
Bayern were lucky not to be reduced to ten men in the 66th minute when French defender Dayot Upamecano brought down a runaway Szoboszlai who went on target with only goalkeeper Yann Sommer to beat.
Upamecano, one of four former Leipzig players in Bayern’s squad along with manager Julian Nagelsmann, received a yellow card.
Leipzig manager Marco Rose, who received a yellow card for protesting to the referee late in the game, said he could live with the decision.
“At first I saw it differently: I thought he (Szoboszlai) was done,” Rose said.
“(But) I spoke to the referee and I can see his point: a yellow card is totally fine.”
Halstenberg said that “it was an exchange of blows and it could have gone either way, it’s a shame, but we can start (the season) with a point.”
Red Bull-owned Leipzig have now only managed to beat the Bavarians once in 16 competitive appearances since their promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2016-17 season.
With less than half of the season’s games played, Leipzig find themselves six points behind Bayern in third place.
Bayern will still finish the round as outright top of the table regardless of other results, although second-placed Freiburg have a chance to cut the gap at the top to two points when they travel to Wolfsburg on Saturday.