Last-gasp Lewandowski saves Bayern in Berlin

BERLIN: Robert Lewandowski hit a 96th-minute equaliser to salvage Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin on Saturday and extended their lead in the Bundesliga table to eight points.
Bayern were seconds away from what would have been their second league defeat this season when Lewandowski fired home his 24th goal in all competitions to cancel out Vedad Ibisevic’s first-half strike.
“Robert Lewandowski is a fantastic player and very important for us,” enthused Bayern’s relieved coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“We’re happy, because it was a hard game.
“Hertha put in a good first half, but it was different after the break and we managed to create more pressure.”
It was a Champions League hangover for Bayern following Wednesday’s 5-1 hammering of Arsenal in the last 16 first leg as Ancelotti made four changes to the side that beat the Gunners.
Hertha went ahead on 21 minutes when Ibisevic ghosted in behind Bayern’s defence and deflected Marvin Plattenhardt’s free-kick past Manuel Neuer.
Despite enjoying more than 70 per cent possession, Bayern struggled and Lewandowski’s equaliser only came deep into added time.
Thiago Alcantara’s free-kick found Ajren Robben on the edge of the area, his shot was blocked, but Lewandowski drilled home the rebound to deny Hertha a first win over Bayern in 12 attempts.
Berlin coach Pal Dardai was angry about the six minutes of added time.
“I think that was a bonus for Bayern. Sorry to anyone who might be offended, but after five minutes (of added time), the game must be finished,” he fumed.
“This wasn’t a cup game, we don’t play 120 minutes.”
Second-placed RB Leipzig can close the gap behind Bayern when they play Borussia Moenchengladbach away on Sunday.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Lukasz Piszczek had a hand in all three goals as Borussia Dortmund bounced back from Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first-leg defeat at Benfica with a 3-0 trouncing of Wolfsburg at home.
Dortmund’s iconic south stand, nicknamed the ‘Gelbe Wand’ (Yellow Wall), which holds 25,000 fans, stood empty.
It was a German FA punishment after hooligans attacked visiting RB Leipzig fans, including families, earlier this month. Dortmund went ahead when Wolfsburg defender Jeffrey Bruma headed Piszczek’s close-range cross into his own net on 20 minutes.     — AFP