Bayern Munich took a 2-1 victory at VfB Stuttgart thanks to a fine Matthijs de Ligt performance that took them back to the top of the Bundesliga.

The Dutch defender drilled home his opening goal in the 39th minute after also being denied Stuttgart the lead two minutes earlier when he cleared the ball from the goal line.

Bayern, who face Paris St Germain in their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday after their 1-0 win in the first round, is on 49 points, ahead of the goal difference of Borussia Dortmund, who beat RB Leipzig 2-1 on Friday. Union Berlin is third on 44 after the home game against Cologne.

Stuttgart got off to a strong start and caused some early panic in the Bayern defense with their high pressing play while keeping goalkeeper Yann Sommer busy before the visitors gradually pushed back.

Despite controlling possession in the first half, Bayern struggled to break through and even the occasional Jamal Musiala solo run failed to crack Stuttgart’s back line.

Quick guide

How do I sign up for sports news alerts?


  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhone or the Google Play Store on Android by searching for “The Guardian”.
  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re using the latest version.
  • In the Guardian app, tap the menu button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon) and then Notifications.
  • Enable sports notifications.

Thank you for your feedback.

It was De Ligt who had the answer when he misplaced his marker and unleashed a shot through a packed box with Stuttgart goalkeeper Fabian Bredlow letting the ball slip through his hands.

Just two minutes earlier it was De Ligt who had come to the rescue at the other end, clearing a goalless Konstantinos Mavropanos effort off the line.

With Stuttgart running out of steam, Bayern struck again with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – fresh from extending his contract on Friday – completing a dazzling three-pass move that left the opposition’s defense frozen in place. It was the Cameroonian forward’s tenth league goal of the season.

Stuttgart scored a deserved goal through Juan José Perea in the 88th minute that injected some late drama, but the hosts ran out of time before they could find an equaliser.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting adds a second goal for Bayern Munich.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting adds a second goal for Bayern Munich. Photo: Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images

Union Berlin stumbled to a goalless draw against Cologne, and lost further ground in the Bundesliga race with their third straight league game without a win. The hosts were toothless throughout and had Frederik Rønnow to thank for rescuing a point, with the keeper making three superb one-handed saves in the second half to stop Cologne.

Union, who won their first five league games of the year but have managed just two points from their last three, rarely broke through the visitors’ tight defence. Once they got close to the box, they were let down by poor passing and sloppy finishing.

skip past newsletter campaigns

In Italy, Atalanta were held to a draw at home by Udinese in Serie A, further threatening their top six presence.

Udinese could have taken the lead in the 17th minute through Sandi Lovric but the midfielder’s powerful strike flew just over the bar.

The visitors had another chance just before the half-hour mark when striker Beto found himself one-on-one with Atalanta keeper Juan Musso, who launched himself to prevent the Portuguese from taking a shot.

Atalanta, who dominated possession and had 17 attempts on goal, could have grabbed a late winner in the 90th minute but Udinese goalkeeper Marco Silvestri made a brilliant save to parry the ball over the bar.

Atalanta, now winless in four of their last five league games, remain sixth with 42 points. Udinese, who have only won once in Series A in their last 17 games, moved up two places to ninth on 32 points.

Earlier Monza beat Empoli 2-1. Fiorentina was host Milan in the late game.

More to follow