Munich - FC Bayern Munich's perfect start to the Bundesliga season ended as Bayer 04 Leverkusen picked up an historic 2-1 victory at the Allianz Arena.
Leverkusen's first win in Munich in over 23 years was sealed by a deflected goal from Sidney Sam at the death. Stefan Kießling gave the visitors the lead in the 42nd minute before Bayern levelled through Mario Mandzukic and came close to winning it themselves before conceding a goal which condemns them to their first Bundesliga defeat of the season after eight straight wins.
With David Alaba in the starting XI, Jupp Heynckes presented his 14th different team in as many games this season while Arjen Robben made his return to the bench, but there was no place for the injured Franck Ribery. Daniel Ramos Carvajal, Lars Bender, Ömer Toprak and Stefan Reinartz were all included in the Leverkusen team after missing out in the Europa League on Thursday.
The first decision was taken by the referee just before the kick-off, when he opted for the white ball rather than the orange one, despite a light snowfall over the Allianz Arena. Bastian Schweinsteiger certainly got a good enough sight of the sphere in the second minute when he tried to flick Thomas Müller’s low cross in with his heel, but he was unable to get enough on the ball to turn it inside the far post.
Philipp Lahm blazed a shot over the crossbar from 20 yards and he was getting up in support of the Bayern attack again and again with Müller also making good headway down the right. A Lahm cross was headed wide by Alaba and both Mandzukic and Alaba failed to connect with another low cross from Müller from an area of the field which was getting increasingly worn. Bernd Leno showed good reflexes to keep Mario Mandzukic’s header out on the quarter-hour mark with the ball this time coming from the left as Bayern tried to mix things up a little to find a way through.
Ironically, when the ball did hit the back of the net, it came at the other end, although Kießling’s celebrations were cut short by the referee, who had seen a foul. There was no irony or doubt about Kießling’s next effort in the 42nd minute as he silenced the Arena with a side-footed effort, laid on a plate to him by Andre Schürrle. Manuel Neuer had the unfamiliar task of fishing the ball out of his own goal for only the third time this season.
Jerome Boateng’s long-range effort was touched behind by Leno as Bayern started the second half like they had begun the first - on the front foot. Bayer continued to wait for chances to break, and seek Kießling, who was working for two in their attack. Robben was sent on for the final half an hour and he set up Xherdan Shaqiri for a shot which Leno pushed behind for another Bayern corner. Mandzukic was next to benefit from Robben’s creativity, but his shot was deflected behind.
Claudio Pizarro entered the fray or the last 15 minutes as Bayern threw caution to the wind in a bid to extend their winning start to the season, or at least salvage their unbeaten record. The first chance following the Peruvian’s arrival came at the other end, though, as Schürrle tested Neuer at the culmination of another counter-attack. Pizarro then made a telling intervention to set up Mandzukic to bring Bayern level in the 77th minute before setting up the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer for another shot, which deflected onto the outside of the post.
The stage was set for an intriguing final ten minutes with Bayern throwing everything forwards to clinch win number nine of the season. What they had not counted on, though, was a second wind from Leverkusen, who broke once again, this time breaking Bayern’s hearts with substitute Sam’s header taking a wicked deflection off Boateng to wrong-foot Neuer and earn Leverkusen a shock win and give Bayern a totally new feeling this year of not winning in the Bundesliga.
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