The Polish international scored the opening 40th minute from the penalty spot while the Bavarian giant won 2-0 on Sunday, his 40th of the season in just 34 championships and cup games for Bayern.
French defender Benjamin Pavard returned home in second place in the 80th minute to seal the victory for the visitor who brought Bayern four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund, 4-0 over the Schalke at the resumption of the Bundesliga on Saturday after a two month break.
Before the league was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Union Berlin’s brave performances had been one of the talking points of the season, the team promoted by punching well above its weight, with shock victories at home against the title contenders Dortmund and Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Bayern should also have felt the heat in front of a capacity of 22,000 people in the exclusive Alten Foersterei terrain, but instead with the game played behind closed doors and with the same sterile atmosphere that marked the other games on restart, it showed everything easy for the league leader.
Union Berlin brilliantly started to force a couple of opening times, but later Bayern’s superior quality allowed Hansi Flick’s team to control the game and dominate possession.
Bayern thought they had taken the lead thanks to Thomas Mueller, but his attempt in the 17th minute was correctly ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
The turning point came after Union defender Neven Subotic awkwardly knocked down Leon Goretzka to suffer a penalty that mortal Lewandowski easily converted.
It was his 26th league goal of the season and he completely eliminated the sting from the home team, who offered little in return with the best scorer Sebastian Andersson kept on the bench until the final moments.
The second half was almost a training exercise for Bayern, with the excellent Pavard scoring three points with a header from a corner by Joshua Kimmich, briefly hugging David Alaba in contravention of the new guidelines while celebrating the his third goal of the season.
It was all very different from the intimidating atmosphere that had greeted other visiting teams this season, with only a maximum of 300 people, mainly players, officials and media, admitted to the stadium.
Bayern, loyal Mueller, admitted that the lack of Union fans helped his team. “It seemed a bit like the atmosphere you get for the old man’s football at 7:00 pm in the spotlight, but as soon as the ball started rolling, the game caught our attention,” he said.
Before the game, the police were also on patrol in the woods near the ground to stop gathering fans and the nearby Koepenick train station was silent in contrast to the usual animated scenes of the day.
While viewers were excluded from the cold by the new restrictions, the reboot’s TV coverage drew a record audience for Sky Germany.
Saturday’s game round attracted over six million viewers, more than double the usual after the two-month hiatus, according to the specialist website DWDL.de.
Last Sunday, Mainz in difficulty came from two goals to recover a valuable point in the 2-2 draw in Cologne.
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