Wolfsburg deliver Bayern's first Bundesliga defeat of the season


Wolfsburg boosted their hopes of catching Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga by inflicting the defending champions' first league defeat this season in some style on Friday night. Bas Dost and Kevin De Bruyne grabbed a brace each as Wolfsburg romped to a fully deserved 4-1 win over Pep Guardiola's men, whose consolation was netted by Juan Bernat. Wolfsburg's spectacular win reduces their arrears on Bayern at the top of the table to eight points as the Bavarians conceded as many on one night as they had done in the entire first half of the season. After a moving minute of applause in remembrance of Junior Malanda, the Wolfsburg midfielder who died in a car accident on January 10, the ball got rolling again after German football's six-week winter break. A slip by Bastian Schweinsteiger allowed Luiz Gustavo to intercept a pass and win possession for the hosts, launching a quick counter-attack which gave the hosts an early lead. Daniel Caligiuri played the ball inside for De Bruyne, who selflessly stroked it on for Dost in even more space to his left, and the Dutchman placed his shot past an immobile Manuel Neuer to net the first Bundesliga goal of 2015. There was very little coming from Bayern, but plenty from Wolfsburg. De Bruyne, cutting in from the left, flashed his shot wide of the far post before setting up Dost five minutes before half-time, although the Dutchman placed his first-time effort wide of the post after beating Neuer to the ball. On the stroke of half-time, Wolfsburg increased their lead with a stunning volley from Dost from the edge of the area striking the inside of the far post on its way past Neuer, who had no chance. If a two-goal lead may have been surprising, a third was unexpected, but it soon arrived with Maximilian Arnold sending De Bruyne through, and the Belgian, who started his run from inside his own half, kept his composure to pass the ball past Neuer. Bayern's response was immediate, if somewhat fortunate, with Juan Bernat running towards a dead end until Naldo teed the ball up for him to reduce the arrears from close range. Arnold wasted the chance to restore Wolfsburg's three-goal advantage when he lifted a shot over from close range while Benaglio denied Arjen Robben as Bayern's tried to rally. That played right into Wolfsburg's hands as Arnold again sent De Bruyne loose from inside his own half, and he skipped one way then another to free himself from Dante before drilling a shot past Neuer. Bayern did not know what had hit them as they conceded four goals in a Bundesliga game for the first time since April 2009. Their opponents back then, like now, were Wolfsburg, who went on to beat them to the title that year, and after Friday night, the odds on a repeat will have shortened somewhat.