BERLIN: Bayern Munich needed a late goal from Joshua Kimmich to salvage a 1-1 draw at home against Cologne in the Bundesliga on Tuesday as the 10-time defending champions were left waiting for their first win of 2023.
Kimmich struck in the 90th minute with a central shot in under the crossbar from around 30 meters.
It denied the visitors a statement victory after taking the lead in the fourth minute and then fending off all of Bayern’s attacks. But after Cologne managed to only half-clear the ball, Kimmich returned it with all the power he could muster from his right boot.
Bayern had been looking for their first win of the year after a 1-1 draw in Leipzig the previous Friday in their first game following the extended winter break.
After 10 straight victories across all competitions before the World Cup, Bayern were keen to kick off another winning run.
Cologne had started 2023 with a 7-1 rout of Werder Bremen — but Bayern is a different caliber.
Still, Ellyes Skhiri stunned the favorites with Cologne’s opener in the fourth minute, going behind Alphonso Davies at the far post to guide in Julian Chabot’s header from a corner.
Bayern’s new goalkeeper Yann Sommer had to be alert to deny Skhiri a second goal on a counterattack.
Both coaches reacted with two changes at the break and Bayern increased its pressure in the second half — only to be met by more resolute defending.
Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann brought on French forward Mathys Tel for Davies in a final gamble with eight minutes of regular time remaining, but it was Kimmich who provided the breakthrough.
Bayern moved four points clear of Leipzig, who routed last-place Schalke 6-1 away earlier.
Eintracht Frankfurt, Union Berlin and Freiburg can all cut Bayern’s lead to three points by winning their respective games Wednesday. Freiburg host Frankfurt and Union visits Bremen.
Also Tuesday, Hertha Berlin dropped deeper into relegation trouble with a chastening 5-0 loss at home to Wolfsburg, just days before it hosts city rival Union for the derby.
While Hertha and Schalke remained mired in the relegation zone, Stuttgart moved out of it despite conceding an injury time equalizer to Hoffenheim for a draw 2-2.
Stuttgart midfielder Naouirou Ahamada set up Serhou Guirassy for his team’s equalizer in first-half injury time, then Wataru Endo for the equalizer in the 77th.
But Ahamada were sent off with his second yellow card for his celebrations, and Andrej Kramari? scored very late – his second of the game – to end Hoffenheim’s run of four defeats in a row.