Bayern slump to first league loss in 18 months
BERLIN - Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich suffered their first league defeat in 18 months when they lost 1-0 at Augsburg on Saturday as Sascha Moelders' first-half strike ended their record 53-game unbeaten run.
The Bavarians, who clinched this season's title in record time with seven games left, had not lost in the Bundesliga since a 2-1 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen in October 2012.
With coach Pep Guardiola fielding a second-string team and resting key players for of next week's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester United, Bayern had trouble finding their rhythm.
"We tried everything until the end," Guardiola told reporters. "But we have to accept that in football you cannot always expect to win. Now we have to prepare quickly for our big game against Manchester."
The Spaniard left Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and captain Philipp Lahm back in Munich and fielded teenagers Mitchell Weiser, Ylli Salahi and Pierre Hojbjerg.
"We want to win every game and we wanted to do it today as well but it did not work," Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos said. "But we still do not want to give away the games."
Augsburg made a strong start and shocked the visitors with Moelders, starting instead of striker Raul Bobadilla, drilling in on the half hour after Weiser lost possession in the Bayern half.
Augsburg briefly picked up where they left off early in the second half with Alexander Esswein's effort palmed away by keeper Manuel Neuer.
Guardiola sent on Thomas Mueller, Mario Goetze and David Alaba and the visitors instantly wrestled control away from the hosts.
Austria international Alaba hit the post as Bayern put Augsburg on the back foot and Goetze and Mueller also went close for the Bavarians.
Augsburg successfully soaked up the Bayern pressure and even hit the post in the final minute before claiming a memorable victory, their first ever in the league against a team leading the Bundesliga.
Second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who take on Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals next week, went three points clear of Schalke 04 with a 2-1 win against VfL Wolfsburg, who took a deserved lead through Croat Ivica Olic.
The forward then twice struck the woodwork in the 40th when his first effort bounced off the bar, hit his leg and bounced back up again.
Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, in one of his last few home games before joining Bayern next season, levelled in the 51st with his 17th league goal that took him joint top of the scorers' list with Bayern's Mario Mandzukic.
The hosts grabbed the winner when keeper Max Gruen let the ball slip out of his hands under pressure from Marco Reus, who pounced to slot in, leaving Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking and sports director Klaus Allofs fuming on the sidelines.
Schalke 04 have 55 points, seven more than fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach after snatching a 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen.
Borussia Moenchengladbach kept their hopes of a top-four finish when they eased past relegation candidates Nuremberg 2-0 with goals from Juan Arango and Max Kruse to move ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference.
VfB Stuttgart threw themselves a lifeline with five games left when they beat Freiburg 2-0 to climb to 15th place on 27 points, level with Hamburg SV, who beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on Friday.
Leverkusen sacked coach Sami Hyypia earlier on Saturday after going nine games with only one win and slipping out of the top four. (Editing by Ed Osmond/Rex Gowar)