After two strange penalty decisions, FC Bayern will go into the Bundesliga hit against Borussia Dortmund on April 1 as second in the table. The Munich team lost 2-1 (1-0) at Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday after taking the lead at half-time and are now one point behind BVB, who had won 6-1 against 1. FC Köln the day before.
Joshua Kimmich, who will captain the national team in the absence of Manuel Neuer in the coming week, put Bayern ahead (22′). But the Argentinian Exequiel Palacios, the only current world champion in the Bundesliga, turned the game around with two penalties (56th/73rd).
Curious: After both actions by Benjamin Pavard and Dayot Upamecano, referee Tobias Stieler initially gave the fouled Amine Adli a yellow card for alleged swallows. Both times he took the card back after studying the video, both times he apologized to Adli – and both times he pointed to the point belatedly.
Leverkusen is close to the European Cup places
Bayer, who are the only Bundesliga side in the Europa League alongside Munich in the quarter-finals of a European Cup competition, extended their series to seven competitive games without defeat and are now close to the European Cup places. Coach Xabi Alonso, who had set the team up well, sent a message to the Bayern bosses. The former midfield strategist, who played for Bayern Munich from 2014 to 2017, is being watched in Munich as a possible coach of the future.
Curiously, it was Bayern who didn’t have an English week in their bones. Nagelsmann made two changes anyway: Thomas Müller and Leon Goretzka replaced Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala at the beginning. Alonso relied on the move he had made out of necessity during the game in Freiburg and ordered Robert Andrich to act as a libero in the middle of a back three.
Leverkusen has not lost any more competitive games in a row.
Overall, however, Leverkusen’s line-up was not geared towards defense and the team didn’t play like that either. The hosts had the first chance when Kerem Demirbay cheekily took a corner kick directly onto goal, but Yann Sommer steered the ball over the crossbar with his fingertips (10′). Seven minutes later, the ex-national player tried again, this time Sommer had a little less trouble.
But Bayer was now in charge and before Bayern even had their first chance, Moussa Diaby (15′), Jeremie Frimpong (16′) and Palacios (17′) created further chances. What was more surprising than the 4-0 corners and shots on goal after 20 minutes was the hosts’ possession of over 60 percent of the ball. And then, out of nowhere, the series champion struck ice cold: Leon Goretzka put it down for Kimmich, whose shot Odilon Kossounou deflected untenably under the bar. It was Kimmich’s fourth goal of the season. He only had more in the 2016/17 season when he was six.
The constant chanting of the fans, “One shot, one goal – Bayern” was absolutely fitting. From now on, Bayern were more compact, got more control of the game and took the wind out of Leverkusen’s sails. However, without developing another opportunity before the break.
A triple change at the break indicated that Nagelsmann was still not really satisfied: In addition to Musiala and Gnabry, Kinsgley Coman also came. Thomas Müller, Sadio Mané and Joao Cancelo stayed in the dressing room. But the goal fell on the other side. Bayern now stepped up their offensive efforts, but Musiala narrowly missed after a great solo and one-two with Gnabry (69th). And then the next penalty followed. After falling behind, the guests pressed for the equaliser, but Bayer keeper Hradecky was in top form. (dpa)
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