Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Bayern Munich
Behind at half-time and with the loss of a key player, few us fans saw this coming.
Yet on a Saturday afternoon in which there were plenty of Bundesliga twists and turns, Bayer Leverkusen are in dreamland after inflicting Bayern Munich a fourth league defeat of the season.
The damage may have been minimal with leaders Borussia Dortmund failing to win their match, but this defeat, coupled with Dortmund’s 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, has left Bayern seven points off the pace.
The Bundesliga 2019 betting odds have changed again.
No wonder Leverkusen coach and former Dortmund boss Peter Bosz was smiling!
Highlights of the game
Bayern knew this would be a tough match and, sure enough, the hosts were on the front foot from the outset at the BayArena as the potential scalp of the champions inspired them to a rousing opening.
They capitalised on a misplaced Mats Hummels pass, and Kevin Volland’s shot sparked penalty appeals as it cannoned off the centre-back’s arm.
Promising talent Julian Brandt also saw a volley go wide after he failed to properly connect.
The deadline should have been broken midway through the first half when the home rearguard was breached by James Rodriguez, who has a fine record against Leverkusen, as he found time and space to set up Leon Goretzka who was off target from 10 yards.
Kingsley Coman was a constant threat, but Leverkusen were more than holding their own as the game became a bit niggly with three bookings inside four minutes.
Just when Bosz may have been thinking about his half-time team talk, his side conceded.
Thomas Muller floated the ball into the danger zone, and the in-form Goretzka escaped between two markers to power home a header for his third goal in four matches.
The loss to injury of Kai Havertz on the stroke of half-time was another blow for the home side and, had Robert Lewandowski not been adjudged offside moments later, the game could have been over.
It wasn’t and, to Die Werkself’s credit, they came out for the second half with renewed momentum.
Volland was mighty close to converting Leon Bailey’s cross, and it was then the latter who drew Leverkusen level seven minutes after the restart with one of the Bundesliga 2019 highlights.
The Jamaican was 25 yards from goal when he placed down the ball after a foul; he managed to curl a stunning effort over the wall and beyond Sven Ulreich.
It was his first goal since September 1, and Leverkusen were level with their first effort on target.
Confidence was now raised to an even higher level. and only the fingertips of Ulreich denied Brandt.
The momentum was clearly with the hosts, and they took the lead with a composed finish from Volland in the 64th minute after good work from Karim Bellarabi.
Lewandowski soon headed wide as Bayern applied pressure, but dogged defending and determination were keeping chances to a minimum. A goal three minutes from time sealed an impressive and deserved home win.
Lucas Alario applied the finishing touch after being picked out by Brandt, and VAR ended any doubts by showing there was no offside.
That capped a memorable day for Leverkusen and a major blow to Munich’s hopes of a seventh successive title.
Bayern’s players stand in front of their supporters disappointed after losing to Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Leverkusen have won the last eight matches in which Volland has scored.
Bayern Munich have now lost four league games this season – the same as they lost throughout the whole of last season. This was their first league defeat since going down to Dortmund in November.
This was David Alaba’s 328th appearance for Munich, drawing level with club legend Uli Hoeness.
Goretzka now has six league goals this season – more than he has managed in any other campaign.
Out of his 20 career Bundesliga goals, 10 of Goretzka’s have actually opened the scoring in games.
This avenged Munich’s 3-1 success over Leverkusen in September.
Leverkusen are back in action on Tuesday when they travel to minnows Heidenheim in the third round of the German Cup.
They then meet fellow mid-tablers Mainz on Friday (February 8) before completing three consecutive away games with a trip to FC Krasnodar in the first leg of the first round of the Europa League knockout stages.
Hertha Berlin are the next test awaiting Munich, also in the German Cup in midweek.
That is followed by a home league clash with Schalke a week today (February 9) before a trip to lowly Augsburg on February 15.
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG FOR MORE FOOTBALL STORIES & ODDS
Stay updated with everything sports and betting.
Follow us on social Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.