Bayern’s impressive win over Leverkusen puts them ten clear of Borussia Dortmund, at least for a couple of hours. Leverkusen stay in fifth, on Borussia Moenchengladbach’s shoulder in the race for the final Champions League spot. Dortmund take on Hertha Berlin in an hour’s time, hoping to close the gap at the top to seven points, though the way Bayern are carrying on, it feels a futile pursuit. The big sell for John Brewin’s MBM, right there. He’s waiting for you, so off you pop. Thanks for reading, and please stay healthy.
Today’s other Bundesliga action …
- Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 Mainz
- Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-2 Hoffenheim
- RB Leipzig 1-1 Paderborn
A big win for relegation-haunted Mainz; a decent point for Fortuna Dusseldorf, putting a little more distance between themselves and Werder Bremen in the relegation zone; and a nightmare for Leipzig, who ended their match with nine men, conceding an equaliser deep into stoppage time. That’s cost them the chance to end Matchday 30 in second spot: they’d otherwise have leapfrogged Borussia Dortmund, for a couple of hours at least. BVB host Hertha Berlin in today’s late kick-off.
FULL TIME: Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich
And that, me old Bundesliga buddies, is that. Bayern responded to falling behind early doors with great style, and edge ever closer to their 30th German title.
90 min +4: Hradecky punches Kimmich’s corner clear with great feeling.
90 min +3: Perisic crosses from the left. Bender is forced to hack behind for a corner with Lewandowski making his presence felt.
90 min +2: The small margins, though. Imagine if Diaby’s decision-making had been a little better today …
90 min +1: Imagine if Leverkusen get another quicksmart! Volland tries to set up the unthinkable, by lashing a speculative shot goalwards from 30 yards. Neuer isn’t caught cold.
90 min: There will be four extra minutes.
GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich (Wirtz 89)
Oh this is delightful! Volland and Paulinho shuttle the ball left to right across the face of the Bayern box. Paulinho feeds the youngster Wirtz, who takes a touch, opens his body, and curls a glorious shot across Neuer and into the top left. The 17-year-old making a big statement against the champs.
87 min: Diaby glides down the left and slings a low ball across the face of the Bayern goal. There’s nobody in red to take advantage, and Alaba clears.
86 min: Lewandowski goes on a power-dribble down the left, barging his way past a couple of half-arsed challenges only to overrun the ball just as a shooting opportunity presented itself.
85 min: Davies makes way for Hernandez.
84 min: Muller sends in another dangerous cross from the right. Lewandowski winds back his neck with a view to powering in number 31, but Bender eyebrows away brilliantly at the last.
82 min: Both teams appear to have declared. All the substitutions haven’t helped. Nothing’s happening.
80 min: More space for Diaby down the left. His floated cross is easily whacked clear by Alaba. Not great. Perhaps this explains his earlier decision-making process.
78 min: This is poor again from Diaby, who attempts to chip Neuer from a tight angle on the left while Volland waits at the far post for a tap-in. Volland hoofs the post in frustration.
76 min: Leverkusen make their final switch, replacing their goalscorer Alario with Volland. “If someone learns to do crowd noises the way Percy Thrower did bird noises,” begins contemporary culture vulture Gary Naylor, “and can, therefore, react in real time to the play, they’ll be on more money than Cristiano Ronaldo. Partly because they can also drown out Glenn Hoddle.” No need to thank us for this sort of patter, internet kids. A back-and-forth about Gilbert Harding coming soon.
74 min: Dragovic is booked for a cynical tug on Goretzka. That’s the last action for the Bayern midfielder, who is replaced by Martinez. Bayern also swap Gnabry for Thiago.
72 min: Perisic comes on for Coman.
70 min: Leverkusen continue to ping it around, refusing to compromise their pretty principles. It’s almost Wengerian. They go nowhere.
68 min: That’s Lewandowski’s 30th Bundesliga goal this season. Just another ten to match Gerd Muller’s 48-year-old record, 11 to beat it. But he’s suspended for the next game, so he’s only got three matches and 22 minutes left to find them. Good luck with that.
GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-4 Bayern Munich (Lewandowski 66)
This is simple brilliance. Muller curls in from the right. It’s a perfect cross for Lewandowski, who plants a header into the bottom right, Hradecky with no chance. Hats off to Goretzka, who would have been within his rights to head for goal himself, but heard his team-mate’s cry from behind and left him to it.
64 min: Coman skitters down the left and pulls back for Gnabry, who sends a screamer meant for the top left high and wide. That would have been a hell of a goal had it whistled into the corner.
63 min: Diaby dribbles with grace and speed down the inside-left channel. He should slip Demirbay through, but again makes the wrong choice, shanking a wild shot high and wide. Demirbay looks at him in very loud silence.
62 min: Goretzka whips the corner towards Muller, who flashes a header straight at Neuer. Then Leverkusen make their fourth change, swapping Baumgartlinger for Paulinho.
61 min: Davies drives down the left and finds Coman on the penalty spot with a fizzing pass. Coman can’t trap to shoot, and Tapsoba is able to bang the ball out for a corner.
58 min: Leverkusen ping it around like Real Madrid circa 1960. But they’re being forced to dig so deep in their own final third, Bayern pressing rabidly. They keep possession wonderfully, when one mistake could be fatal. Great football from both sides.
56 min: Diaby curls gloriously from the left towards Alario at the far post. Alario’s header comes off the back of Davies and pings out for a corner. That’s a lucky deflection for Bayern, because that header was on target and might have seriously tested Neuer. Nothing comes from the corner.
54 min: A free kick for Leverkusen out on the left. Demirbay sends a fine ball bouncing along the corridor of uncertainty, but nobody in red chances their arm, and everyone in blue is able to usher it out for a goal kick.
53 min: Coman and Lewandowski chase another long pass down the middle. Tapsoba does extremely well to stick out a leg and poke the ball away from the pair’s reach. Fine last-ditch defending.
52 min: Leverkusen string a few passes together in the midfield. They don’t really go anywhere, but small acorns and baby steps.
50 min: Leverkusen are very nearly punished, as Coman dribbles down the right and cuts back for Muller, who from the edge of the box sends a forensic shot inches wide of the bottom right. Hradecky’s feet were planted, so had that been on target, this game was done and dusted.
48 min: Now they win a corner, centre-back Alaba dribbling along the byline to the left of goal. Goretzka’s corner is no good, and Leverkusen sweep up the other end on the counter. Diaby whizzes down the left, and should find young Wirtz, free at the far post. But he slashes a selfish shot wide instead. A real chance for the hosts to get back into the game spurned.
47 min: Goretzka nearly barges his way through the middle. Bayern obviously haven’t declared yet.
We’re off again! A triple substitution by Leverkusen: Wirtz, Demirbay and Wendell come on, replacing Amiri, Bellarabi and Bailey. Bayern get the ball rolling for the second half.
Half-time ambient chit-chat.
HALF TIME: Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Bayern Munich
Bayern took the best part of half an hour to turn up. Yet look at the score! That’s why they’re champions … and why they’re going to be champions yet again.
GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Bayern Munich (Gnabry 45)
But now it’s redemption for Gnabry, and this one’s straight out of the Charles Reep handbook. A raking Kimmich pass down the middle. Gnabry tears clear and lobs Hradecky with ease. Leverkusen can’t deal with the long ball at all.
44 min: Gnabry is sent clear down the inside right. He’s one on one with the keeper … but hits it straight at Hradecky. Redemption for the keeper.
GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Bayern Munich (Goretzka 42)
41 min: A corner for Leverkusen down the right. Bailey whips it towards the near post. Another corner. He goes deep with this one, but it’s easily cleared and Bayern break upfield …
40 min: Muller is booked for acting up, as he stops Tapsoba taking a quick free kick. He’ll miss Bayern’s next game, too.
39 min: It’s end to end now. Diaby has a crack from distance, an easy save for Neuer. Then Alaba chips smoothly down the right, allowing Lewandowski to chest down and lash a shot across the face of goal.
37 min: Lewandowski chases after another long pass. Leverkusen look susceptible to the direct pass. Hradecky races out to blooter clear, just in time.
35 min: Bellarabi is booked for a rake across the ankles of Davies. The ref, whose yellow card appears to be in Toaster Mode, has a word with both managers. This doesn’t seem a particularly bad-tempered match, but there you go.