Robert Lewandowski bagged his 26th league goal this season as leaders Bayern Munich resumed their Bundesliga title chase with a 2-0 win at Union Berlin behind closed doors in their first match in two months on Sunday.
Lewandowski netted a first-half penalty and defender Benjamin Pavard scored a late header for Bayern in Berlin. The Bundesliga on Saturday became the first top European league to restart during the coronavirus pandemic.
Poland star Lewandowski, who missed two games with injury before the league was interrupted in mid-March, reached 40 goals for the campaign in all competitions as Bayern restored their four-point lead over Borussia Dortmund.
After today’s game, Lewandowski became the third player, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, to score 40 goals in five consecutive seasons, The Mirror UK reports.
Dortmund, who thrashed Schalke 4-0 in the Ruhr derby on Saturday, host Bayern in a pivotal fixture on May 26, another game that will be behind closed doors in line with the league’s strict hygiene guidelines.
“I have to say, each minute is very long when there are no fans and no noise,” said Bayern captain Manuel Neuer.
“It was a different atmosphere to what you would expect at the Alten Forsterei, but, okay, it’s about motivation and attitude.
“We still have a bit of work to do, but are happy to have dominated the game and can head home with the three points.”
Union had shocked previous leaders Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach earlier in the season, backed by passionate home support at their Alten Forsterei stadium.
With players’ voices echoing around the empty ground, Thomas Mueller looked to have given Bayern the lead on 18 minutes only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.
Bayern eventually broke through when Union defender Neven Subotic fouled Leon Goretzka in the area on 38 minutes, with Lewandowski stepping up to slot home the resulting penalty.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick brought on French winger Kingsley Coman for his 100th Bundesliga appearance as the visitors sought to make the points safe.
It was Coman’s countryman Pavard who grabbed the second goal on 80 minutes when he headed a Joshua Kimmich corner inside the far post.