FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Leaders Bayern Munich’s express start to the season finally ran out of steam on Friday with a goalless draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, following 10 wins out of their 10 previous Bundesliga games.
The champions lacked their usual punch and despite dominating the encounter, did not manage to break past a disciplined backline too often, failing to equal a European major league record for the best start to a season, held by Tottenham Hotspur with 11 straight wins in 1960.
“Every week we think it can’t get more defensive and then comes a team that plays even more defensive,” Bayern captain Philipp Lahm told reporters. “I think Frankfurt played a 6-3-1 tonight. But if we had used our chances and scored we would be sitting here saying how much fun it was.”
Indicative of Bayern’s frustrating evening was the yellow card for Lahm, who had not committed a single foul in his previous 24 consecutive league matches, in his 450th appearance for the club.
The Bavarians, on 31 points, extended their lead to eight above second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who travel to Werder Bremen on Saturday when Schalke 04, in third a further four points behind on 19, host promoted Ingolstadt.
Eintracht, who recovered following their ignominious German Cup second round exit to third-tier club Erzgebirge Aue on Tuesday, moved up to 11th on 13 points.
Bayern, who had won their previous six matches against Eintracht without conceding a goal, were more aggressive from the start and Arturo Vidal tested keeper Lukas Hradecky with a looping header in the 11th minute.
Javi Martinez’s glancing header minutes later floated just wide as Bayern set a quick early pace and the home side frantically defended.
A double defensive blunder by the hosts at the start of the second half left Douglas Costa unmarked in front of goal but again Hradecky, at full stretch, got a leg to the ball to send the Brazilian’s low shot wide.
Eintracht grew in confidence and came close to scoring with an Alex Meier effort before Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer almost gifted a goal to Marc Stendera after a bad clearance.
Bayern gradually reclaimed control and had Eintracht on the backfoot for the final 20 minutes but could not make their dominance count with league top scorer Robert Lewandowski, marked tightly by Carlos Zambrano, firing wide in a one-on-one with Hradecky in the 80th minute with his biggest chance of the game.
The Poland striker did manage to get the ball into the net late on but he was adjudged to be just offside.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris/Mark Meadows)