Bayern squeeze past Augsburg thanks to Lewandowski penalty

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - FC Augsburg v Bayern Munich - WWK Arena, Augsburg, Germany - January 20, 2021 Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry in action Pool via REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

AUGSBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski struck a first-half penalty to help Bayern Munich earn a nervous 1-0 victory at Augsburg on Wednesday and stay four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga at the season's halfway mark.

The Bavarians, chasing a record-extending ninth straight league crown, are on 39 points, four ahead of RB Leipzig, who beat Union Berlin 1-0.

Title rivals Borussia Dortmund are already 10 points adrift.

Lewandowski put the visitors in front with a 13th-minute penalty, his 22nd league goal, the most for any player halfway through a Bundesliga season.

He has featured in 16 of Bayern's 17 league games this season and is after Gerd Mueller's record of 40 goals in a campaign from 1971/72.

The Pole had several more chances to add to his goal haul and also hit the post in a dominant first half with Bayern having 12 shots on goal to their opponents' zero. Thomas Mueller and Serge Gnabry also went close for the visitors.

Instead of scoring again, however, to make sure of the three points, Bayern were far too passive after the break.

"In the second half we did not offer much," said Bayern's Joshua Kimmich. "It was far from dominant."

"We should be 2-0 or 3-0 up at halftime. Instead we have to fight in the second half because we are not dominant when we take the lead."

Bayern, who won five titles in 2020, conceded a 75th-minute penalty but had a lucky escape when Alfred Finnbogason hit the post with his spot kick.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Toby Davis)

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