Home » Bayern deserve to be checkmated: Leverkusen moves away at the top of the table

Bayern deserve to be checkmated: Leverkusen moves away at the top of the table

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Bayern deserve to be checkmated: Leverkusen moves away at the top of the table

FC Bayern had no order! This sentence is not found very often in the history of the Bundesliga, but it was completely true on this 21st matchday. Leaders Leverkusen clearly beat the champions 3-0, as they deserved.

While Bayern loanee Josip Stanisic (Wed.) held back from celebrating after his 1-0 win for Leverkusen, his teammates celebrated him extensively. IMAGO/Revierfoto

A lot had already been written and spoken about this Bundesliga hit in advance – including in terms of personnel. And in this respect, Leverkusen’s coach Previous regular players Frimpong, Hofmann and striker Schick had to go to the bench for Stanisic, Tella and Adli, who were on loan from Munich. Arthur (thigh operation after muscle tendon injury), Boniface (hamstring injury to the adductors), Kossounou (Africa Cup) and Palacios (retraining after muscle injury) had to miss the game entirely.

At FC Bayern, which is managed by Thomas Tuchel, there was a lot of speculation about Neuer. The captain suffered a knee injury in the 3-1 win against Gladbach – including training breaks. But then the all-clear was given: the 2014 world champion felt ready and ran – just like Kim, who only returned from the Asian Cup on Thursday, and the injured Upamecano after a torn muscle fiber. De Ligt and Müller had to go out, while Davies (strained medial knee ligament) was completely absent and winter signing Boey (Bundesliga starting XI debut), brought in from Galatasaray, started like Mazraoui on the wing next to a defensive line of three.

Stanisic hits against the actual employer

“Saturday, 6.30 p.m., pants down and cards on the table. We want a statement performance,” Tuchel had also demanded of his men in advance – and had to march into the catacombs pretty dejected after the first 45 minutes. Apart from a playfully dominant initial phase for FC Bayern, there was nothing on offer. There are no real actions towards scoring a goal: only Goretzka (13th minute), Mazraoui (27th) and Sané shortly before the break (43rd) came close.

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By this point, it was already deservedly 1-0 for the Werkself, who had seized the scepter of dominance after the first 15 minutes and never given it back. But that was also due to misconduct on the part of the guests: after a simple throw-in to Andrich, he was able to go for a short dribble without any resistance from Sané and pass the ball inwards. The ball went through Upamecano’s legs before Stanisic, who wasn’t picked up by Boey, came rushing in on the far right and finished (18′). Of all people, the defender who was on loan from FCB in the summer scored – ahead of the specially brought in defender Boey.

Bayern weak, Bayer missed

Especially with the 1-0 win behind them, Alonso’s protégés performed even better and presented themselves as the absolute league leaders who had their closest rival fully under control. The defense around Tah and Tapsoba kept Kane (24 goals in the first 20 league games so far), who had made seven (!) contacts after almost 30 minutes played, completely at bay.

And the attack department could have easily added another goal, almost had to. Wirtz (9th), Adli (11th) and again Adli (18th) provided the first good moments before Tella appeared free in front of Neuer – and was denied by the DFB keeper (23rd). Tah also despaired with a good header against the Bayern captain (24th), who also got hold of Adli’s attempt (37th). The active Adli was also completely through again after a fine outside-of-the-foot pass from Xhaka, but was caught by Upamecano on the way to 2-0 (42nd).

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Frimpong puts the crown on Bayer’s triumph

But the surprising thing is that the 15-minute break didn’t bring the reigning champions up to operating temperature. In fact, after the break, Leverkusen continued to have control of the action – and now also achieved a deserved 2-0 win. Grimaldo helped build up, moved slightly inwards on the left side, took Tella with him and went steep. The teammate put this one-two pass neatly into the path of the Spaniard, who hammered Neuer hard under the crossbar from a tight angle (50′).

That was nothing: Bayern joker Thomas Müller (left) and the deregistered Harry Kane achieved nothing. IMAGO/MIS

A defiant reaction was therefore necessary – and should take place with the freshly substituted and well-known substitute players Kimmich and Müller (each in the 60th minute). Apart from an initial approach via Kane and Sané (66th), nothing came of it against the still extremely stable Bayer defensive department. That’s why Tuchel added striker Tel (71st), Guerreiro and Choupo-Moting (81st each) a little later. But even with these jokers, the Werkself’s defensive towers were not torn from their anchorage – quite the opposite. Sané & Co. ran hard, while Frimpong missed several opportunities on the counterattack (once hitting the post in the 88th minute) to make it 3-0…

… and still scored in the end. Neuer had come forward at a final FCB corner, but lost the header duel with Tah. Tapsoba then sent Frimpong on his way, who hit the empty goal from far right to make the final score 3-0 (90+5).

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The Werkself were there with a statement of power against Munich and distanced the surprisingly harmless record champions and reigning title holders to five points. Leverkusen now has a week to regenerate before they travel to Heidenheim on Saturday (3:30 p.m.) to face the currently strong newcomers – unbeaten in eight league games. FC Bayern, defeated for the third time this season, will play the first leg of the round of 16 in the Champions League at Lazio Rome on Wednesday (9 p.m.), then travel to VfL Bochum on Sunday (5:30 p.m.).

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