Bayer Leverkusen causes an unpleasant surprise

Bayer Leverkusen causes an unpleasant surprise

EPart of the fascination of football lies in its function as a constant producer of astonishing oddities that, when viewed soberly, should not actually occur. But it happens again and again, including Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-1 win over the FC Bayern.

Not only that the result may have surprised some observers, the two goals by the Werkself were a rarity: referee Tobias Stieler twice showed Amine Adli yellow cards because he believed that the Frenchman had faked fouls in the penalty area with swallows. And twice the video assistant intervened to correct, there were penalties that Ezequiel Palacios converted and made this amazing victory possible, thanks to which Borussia Dortmund is back at the top of the table at the end of a matchday for the first time since 2019.

Luck was part of the game with this result, but the victory was by no means undeserved for the Werkself. Because the team from Xabi Alonso had played football at a very high level overall, while Bayern seemed a bit dull in many phases. In the first hour, the Rhinelanders usually had the ball, they acted courageously and also had the first chances.

Moussa Diaby narrowly missed the Munich goal with a 20-metre shot and Yann Sommer, the FC Bayern goalkeeper, saved a shot by Jeremie Frimpong on the short corner (16′). Florian Wirtz, who is set to become a key player in Hansi Flick’s new national team, played some of his elegant passes and the two key tasks that Alonso is currently working on with his side have been handled well.

Leverkusen’s good “spirit”

The coach keeps talking about the “balance” and “control” that is missing on the bad days, both of which the Leverkusen team managed very well in this game. After 20 minutes at the latest it was clear that Alonso had devised a good strategy against the club with which he had won the German championship three times during his playing career.

Bayern were under a lot of pressure and struggled to gain possession of the ball. “We have a good spirit,” Alonso said after a series of four competitive wins in a row and reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League before the game. And yet Bayern took the lead with their first structured and patiently played attack.

After a long pass relay, a precise, high ball into the penalty area and an assist from Leon Goretzka Joshua Kimmich from 14 meters and scored the first goal of the day. That was well played, but a mistake by Diaby, who was once again nominated for the French national team, favored this goal.

The fast winger had left too much room for Kimmich in his back (22′). That was the decisive moment of the first half and the only situation in which the record champions actually created a goal threat. After that, the Werkself mostly had the ball again, but that didn’t lead to any further chances.

What's going on here?  Bayer Leverkusen beats Bayern Munich.

What’s going on here? Bayer Leverkusen beats Bayern Munich.

Image: dpa

After the break, Bayern played Gnabry, Coman and Musiala for Mané, Cancelo and Müller, who all remained pale, but the tectonics of the game changed little at first. Until finally in one of those narrow tight penalty area scenes, Leverkusen lucky.

In a duel, Benjamin Pavard hit Adli’s foot and awarded the penalty that made it 1-1 (55′) before Dayot Upamecano made the same mistake and Palacios scored his second penalty (73′). In the closing stages, Bayern’s superiority was overwhelming, but Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky and his defense actually held up.

After this setback for FC Bayern, there is a duel with the new leaders after the international break Borussia Dortmund, in which the two largest clubs in the Bundesliga meet almost on an equal footing. But Bayern are vulnerable this season. That has been seen again and again in recent months and now also in Leverkusen.

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