BERLIN (Reuters) - Robert Lewandowski scored for a league-record ninth consecutive Bundesliga match as Bayern Munich scraped past promoted Union Berlin 2-1 on Saturday to reclaim top spot in the league.
Lewandowski, who has scored in every competitive game in the league, Champions League and German Cup this season for a total of 19 goals, netted his 13th league goal eight minutes after the restart for his new Bundesliga record.
He had previously shared the record with former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored in the first eight league games.
Benjamin Pavard volleyed in from 17 metres to put the hosts ahead in the 13th minute but the rest of the half was far less entertaining with Bayern again struggling for ideas and the visitors putting up a fight.
Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer did well to save a penalty three minutes later as the hosts battled for their first clean sheet after conceding two goals in each of their last five matches in all competitions.
But Neuer was beaten by Sebastian Polter in a second spot kick in the 85th minute after the striker was brought down by Pavard.
The Bavarians were again far from convincing but thanks to Lewandowski’s scoring prowess they moved up to top spot on 18 points, one ahead of Freiburg, who stunned RB Leipzig 2-1 with both teams scoring a goal in stoppage time.
“We now have the place we wanted,” Bayern coach Niko Kovac told reporters. “We are league leaders.”
The win is welcome respite for Kovac, who has been under mounting criticism for his team’s low conversion rate and poor defending.
“I am satisfied with our performance. We did not allow a lot at the back and we had our share of big chances which we did not use unfortunately,” Kovac said
“We will turn that corner at some point and score more goals from the many chances that we create.”
Borussia Dortmund are on 16 after settling their Ruhr valley derby with Schalke 04 with a goalless draw. Schalke are on 15.
Bayer Leverkusen missed their chance to move into the top three, drawing 2-2 with visitors Werder Bremen. Leverkusen, with only one win from the last four games, are also on 15.
Borussia Moenchengladbach and VfL Wolfsburg, both on 16, could take over the lead with victory on Sunday over Eintracht Frankfurt and Augsburg respectively.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon