Munich's Franck Ribery, left, and Miroslav Klose, right, talk prior to a German first division Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg (photo: AP)
Thomas Mueller scored an uncommon goal in the seventh minute for Bayern, which twice hit the post, including once on a missed penalty.
Wolfsburg also failed to convert a penalty as new goalkeeper Thomas Kraft made a superb Bundesliga debut for Munich.
Still, Sascha Riether equalized in the 86th for Wolfsburg.
Bayern was dealt a blow when star playmaker Franck Ribery was forced to limp off after just 25 minutes with a left ankle or knee injury. But on to replace him was Dutch star Arjen Robben for his season debut in his first match since the World Cup final in South Africa.
Bayern has lost only once in its last 11 matches, and moved to fifth place, three points behind second-placed Mainz, which lost 1-0 at Stuttgart.
Later Saturday, Schalke was hosting Hamburg.
Hannover can jump to second with a victory on Sunday at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Bayern nearly went ahead after five minutes but Mario Gomez struck only the crossbar. Bayern took the lead two minutes later on a strange goal.
Kraft's long punt kick forced Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio out of his goal and the Swiss netminder's clearance attempt 25 meters out went off Mueller and back into Wolfsburg's goal.
Bayern missed a chance to double the lead when Philipp Lahm's penalty in the 21st blasted off the base of the left post.
Wolfsburg's Ashkan Dejagah headed off the crossbar in the 37th and then Bayern's new keeper Kraft deflected Grafite's penalty off the left post three minutes into first-half injury time.
Kraft again made a superb save against Mario Mandzukic in the 56th.
Bayern did not do enough in the second half and watched as Wolfsburg equalized when Marcel Schaefer beat Bastian Schweinsteiger on the left side before crossing to Riether, who blasted home from just three meters out.
Mueller appeared to have scored the winner in the 90th but he was ruled offside.
League leader Borussia Dortmund, 13 points up on Mainz, opened the 18th round on Friday with a 3-1 victory at Bayer Leverkusen.
League topscorer Papiss Demba Cisse scored twice for his 14th and 15th goals in Freiburg's 2-2 draw with St. Pauli.
Torsten Frings scored in injury time to give Werder Bremen a 2-1 victory at home against Hoffenheim.
Last-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Nuremberg 1-0 on the road for a crucial three points in the relegation fight.