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Bayern shows champion's heart

By Agence France-Presse in Berlin | China Daily | Updated: 2015-08-24 08:00

 Bayern shows champion's heart

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saves a penalty during the German first division match against Hoffenheim on Saturday in Sinsheim. Bayern notched a 2-1 victory. AFP Photo / Thomas Kienzle

Pep Guardiola rates 10-man Bayern Munich's 'crazy' 2-1 comeback win at Hoffenheim on Saturday as one of the best Bundesliga matches in his three seasons in Germany.

A 90th-minute Robert Lewandowski goal sealed Bayern's unlikely win after the Bavarian giants tied the record for conceding the fastest goal in Bundesliga history when Hoffenheim's Kevin Volland scored after just nine seconds.

Bayern began the comeback when a Douglas Costa shot rocketed off the hands of Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann and Thomas Mueller jabbed home the rebound with his knee to equalize in the 40th minute.

The defending champions were reduced to 10 men when defender Jerome Boateng was sent off for an obvious handball from a free kick he had just conceded to earn his second booking and a red card in the 72nd minute.

Hoffenheim then wasted the chance for an historic first win over Bayern when Eugen Polanski blasted his penalty attempt off the post.

Munich claimed the dramatic winner when Brazil winger Costa fired in a superb cross, Mario Goetze let the ball roll and Lewandowski drilled home his shot.

"The last 10 minutes were somewhat crazy; we saw one of the best Bundesliga matches in the last three years," said a relieved Guardiola, who is in the final season of his three-year Bayern contract.

"I'm happy with the win and, above everything, with the performance. We knew it would be difficult here as Hoffenheim has always created a few problems for us in the last few years."

Boateng is now suspended for Bayern's key match at home against second-place Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Having spared Bayern's blushes, Lewandowski said the champions showed their mettle after fighting back to deny Hoffenheim the chance to make history.

"As always, that was not an easy game against Hoffenheim," said Lewandowski. "After the penalty and red card, we knew that we had to keep playing, we created two or three big chances and we were the better team today."

Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol could barely mask his bitter disappointment, but was complimentary of Bayern, which is bidding to become the first team to win four straight Bundesliga titles.

"You saw the brutal individual class which Bayern have. There are players, two or three, who play with a tempo you can't really hinder," said Gisdol.

"We were in the running for a win at the end and we'd have settled gladly for a draw."

Having tied Karim Bellarabi's record for the fastest goal in Bundesliga history, set at the start of last season, Volland said his early strike was no consolation.

"The disappointment outweighs everything," he said. "We suffered a 2-1 defeat in the 90th minute, despite playing well and having had the chance to finish the job.

"We didn't manage to do it and we were punished. It's a bitter disappointment."

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