Bayern Munich battered Borussia Monchengladbach throughout their Bundesliga clash at the Allianz Arena on Friday night but the leaders were ultimately held to a 1-1 draw by their resilient visitors.
For a long time it appeared as if it might be one of those nights for the Bavarians, who fell behind midway through the first half to a disputed penalty from Thorben Marx. However, Xherdan Sharqiri netted his first Bundesliga goal to level matters just before the hour mark and the hosts looked certain to force a winner.
They were unable to do so, though, meaning Bayern failed to match their own record for the best first half of a Bundesliga season.
A home victory had looked inevitable right from the off, with Franck Ribery particularly prominent early on, the Frenchman causing all sorts of problems with his movement and quick feet.
However, the visitors weathered the early storm and then silenced the Allianz Arena by taking the lead against the run of play 21 minutes in.
Tolga Cigerci tried to dink the ball to the far post but his cross struck the arm of Boateng. The defender had turned his back on the ball but referee Tobias Welz pointed to the spot regardless and Marx drilled home the resulting penalty to put Monchengladbach a goal to the good.
Bayern were left enraged by the penalty decision but they channelled their aggression in the right way and set about peppering Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal with shots. The Monchengladbach pulled off a spectacular one-handed save to keep out Ribery’s drive from the edge of the area, though he was merely a spectator when Dante’s header from a corner clipped the top of the crossbar.
It had been an eventful few minutes for Dante, who had been on hand to clear off the line after Manuel Neuer had come running out of his area to intercept a long ball forward only to beaten to it by Cigerci.
However, even though Bayern looked vulnerable to the counterattack, Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes opted to make a very attacking substitution just before half-time, sending on Shaqiri in place of Javi Martinez.
The hosts looked even more menacing going forward as a result and they would have drawn level four minutes into the second half had Ter Stegen not reacted wonderfully well to get down to his left to keep out Bastian Schweinsteiger’s low shot, which seemed destined for the bottom corner.
Dante then went close once again with a header before Mario Gomez took over from Mario Mandzukic up front. However, it was the earlier substitution which reaped dividends moments later when Shaqiri beat Ter Stegen at the goalkeeper’s near post with a calm left-footed finish, after the Swiss had been the grateful recipient of Tony Jantschke’s horribly ill-advised pass across his own area.
Bayern spent the remaining 30 minutes pouring forward in search of a winner. Shaqiri went close to netting a second with a curling free kick before Ribery drew another flying save out of Ter Stegen with a sumptuously executed 25-yard volley.
However, Monchengladbach stood firm to claim a valuable point that keeps them firmly in contention for a European place, while their hosts were left to lament their failure to ensure that they will go into the winter break with a double-digit lead over second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.