Kevin De Bruyne put on a master class and the Bundesliga restarted with a shocker as Wolfsburg humiliated leaders Bayern Munich, 4-1, on Friday evening at the Volkswagen Arena.
The hosts went ahead in the fourth minute, Bas Dost finishing off a quick counter after fine work from Daniel Caligiuri and De Bruyne. Dost then doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time with an impressive volley before De Bruyne added the third early in the second half.
Juan Bernat pulled a goal back for Bayern early in the second half, but Wolfsburg and De Bruyne restored their three-goal lead with another lethal counter in the 73rd minute.
With the win, second-placed Wolfsburg moved up to 37 points through 18 matches. Bayern Munich remain atop the table but now lead by eight points.
Even after the defeat, however, Bayern will remain firm favourites to claim the Bundesliga title for a third year running. The loss was Bayern’s first of the campaign and before Friday, Pep Guardiola’s side had allowed only four goals all season.
Wolfsburg will not concede the title race, of course, but Friday’s win likely did more to consolidate their hold on second place. Following the upset victory, Dieter Hecking’s men are now nine points clear of third-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
Up next, Wolfsburg play at Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday. Bayern Munich host Schalke the same day.
Before kick-off, the home supporters paid tribute to the late Junior Malanda with a display that translated to “Forever in our hearts.” The Wolfsburg midfielder was killed in an automobile accident on 10 January.
With the Bundesliga’s long winter break finally finished, Wolfsburg needed little time to open the scoring. In the fourth minute, the hosts countered quickly, Caligiuri picking out De Bruyne with a cross-pitch pass to the edge of the box. De Bruyne then passed to Dost, who slotted in past Manuel Neuer for a quick 1-0 Wolfsburg lead.
Bayern had held the majority of possession until the opening goal, which did little to change the pattern of the game. The visitors continued to dominate the ball but struggled to turn possession into chances.
In the 14th minute, Bayern’s Xabi Alonso set up Bastian Schweinsteiger with a clipped pass into the box. Schweinsteiger directed his header on target, but Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio saved comfortably.
Bayern had another half-chance in the 29th minute, David Alaba hitting a sweetly struck shot from the edge of the box. Benaglio saved again, this time moving to his right to make the stop.
Wolfsburg could have had a second goal in the 41st minute as Dost beat Neuer to a Caligiuri pass following another quick counter. But Dost was unable to put his shot on target, sending the ball wide.
It was only a momentary let-off for Bayern, though. In the second minute of stoppage time, Wolfsburg doubled their lead after Bayern were unable to clear a free-kick.
Dost was the scorer again, latching onto a half-clearance and lashing an unstoppable volley past Neuer from the edge of the box to give the hosts a two-goal advantage at the interval.
Leading by two goals at half-time, Wolfsburg added a third in the 53rd minute. Again the hosts hit Bayern on the counter, Maximilian Arnold sending De Bruyne clear behind the defence with a pass down the middle. De Bruyne held his nerve and finished coolly past Neuer into the bottom corner for a 3-0 lead.
Bayern pulled a goal back just two minutes later. Holding possession inside Wolfsburg’s box, Bernat cut inside from the left but lost possession as he neared goal. The ball took a fortunate bounce, however, as Naldo kicked straight back to Bernat. With his second chance, the Spaniard made no mistake from a tight angle.
Wolfsburg should have had another goal in the 57th minute, but Arnold blasted over the bar from close range following good build-up play from Dost and Ivan Perisic. One minute later, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski shot off target at the other end as the visitors tried to cut into the deficit further.
Bayern came close in the 71st minute as Schweinsteiger hit a free-kick short to Arjen Robben. Robben rocketed his shot on target, but Benaglio saved.
Two minutes later, Wolfsburg grabbed their fourth goal. Arnold tore open Bayern’s defence as the hosts countered at pace yet again. After tormenting Dante one-on-one, De Bruyne slammed his shot into the roof of the net to give Wolfsburg a 4-1 lead.
Bayern were stunned, but the game was not quite finished. Benaglio made a good stop in the 82nd minute to deny Robben. Three minutes later, Bayern substitute Claudio Pizarro blasted over the bar from close range after latching onto a loose ball.
The visitors kept pushing for goals until the final whistle, but after 90 minutes of outstanding counter-attacking football, Wolfsburg were worthy winners
Second-place Wolfsburg took an early lead in a match that could get them back in the title discussion in their clash with Bundesliga-leading Bayern Munich.
Bas Dost finished off a nice team buildup to beat Manuel Neuer as the hosts took a surprising lead over the Bavarian giants.
Bost struck again for Wolfsburg to give the title-chasers an unlikely two-goal advantage.
Kevin De Bruyne made it 3-0 when the Belgian beat Neuer when Bayern were caught on the break.
Shortly after, Juan Bernat tapped home from close range to pull one back for Bayern.
De Bruyne scored again to essentially put the match late in the second half.
[BREAKING] Wolfsburg humbles Bayern Munich (4-1) in 2nd half Bundesliga OpenerSPONSORED