Robert Lewandowski double downs Bayer Leverkusen to send Bayern Munich top
Robert Lewandowski scored twice, including with the last kick of the game, as Bayern Munich came from behind to claim top spot from Bayer Leverkusen.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Bayern Munich
Goals: 1-0 Schick (14'), 1-1 Lewandowski (43'), 1-2 Lewandowski (90'+3)
Leverkusen went into the contest one place and point better off than the defending champions at the summit, and looked like they would only extend their advantage for long periods in the first half. The pre-match Bundesliga leaders were first to every second ball in the early stages, forging ahead through Patrik Schick's quite brilliant volley in the 14th minute. The Czech striker warmed the palms of Manuel Neuer with Bayer's next attack, before Moussa Diaby thundered a strike into the side-netting. Bayern survived another nervy moment as the referee ruled out a second Schick strike for offside following consultation with the VAR. Losing the in-form Kingsley Coman to injury did their comeback hopes no favours, but parity was restored late in the first half when the unmarked Lewandowski made the most of a breakdown in communication between Lukas Hradecky and Jonathan Tah to head home Thomas Müller's cross with his first goal since being named The Best FIFA Men's Player 2020.
The shift in momentum was palpable as Lewandowski forced Hradecky into evasive action within 120 seconds of the restart. The Poland international then tried to tee up substitute Leroy Sane for a close-range finish, but Hradecky was first to it once more. Leverkusen responded in kind as Amiri fired straight at Neuer following some silky one-and-two-touch football, though Bayern's high line was proving far tougher to breach compared to the first period. The visitors were finding more joy in the attacking areas, though, with only the fingertips of Hradecky preventing a breakaway goal from Serge Gnabry. The returning Joshua Kimmich set up a promising opening with 20 minutes to go, but Müller and Lewandowski got in each other's way, with the former ballooning over from inside the opposition area. A point apiece appeared to be the most likely outcome after Anglo-German teenager Jamal Musiala side-footed against Hradecky's left-hand post and Diaby flashed a cross just beyond substitute Lucas Alario, but Lewandowski had other ideas. Exploiting a mistake from Tah, the Pole collected Kimmich's pass and fired Bayern to the top of the pile at Christmas with the help of a deflection, ending their nearest challengers' unbeaten start for good measure.
- Lewandowski scored his 16th and 17th Bundesliga goals of the season. He has scored Bayern's last five goals, including successive braces.
- Bayern have conceded first in their last seven Bundesliga matches, albeit fighting back to get a result in all of them (W4, D3) - a Bundesliga record.
- Schick scored his fourth Bundesliga goal of the campaign. All have come in his last seven matches, while his strike against Bayern was his first at the BayArena.
- Leverkusen were the 2020/21 Bundesliga season's last remaining unbeaten team.
- Die Werkself are five-time Bundesliga runners-up, but have never won the title.
- Aleksandar Dragovic won more challenges than any other player on the pitch.
Watch: Alphonso Davies happy with performance and 'LewanGOALski'
Leverkusen: Hradecky - Dragovic, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven - Wirtz, Baumgartlinger (c), Amiri - Bailey (Demirbay 73'), Schick (Alario 81'), Diaby
Unused subs: Lomb, Jedvaj, Wendell, Weiser, Gedikli, Türkmen
Out: Aranguiz (Achilles tendon), Arias (ankle), S. Bender (knee), L. Bender (knock), Palacios (back), Paulinho (knee)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Süle, Boateng, Alaba, Hernandez - Tolisso (Kimmich 68') - Coman (Sane 32') (Musiala 68'), Gnabry, Müller, Davies - Lewandowski
Unused subs: Nübel, Pavard, Costa, Choupo-Moting, Roca, Richards
Out: Goretzka (muscular), Martinez (thigh), Nianzou (thigh), Zirkzee (foot)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Watch: Lukas Hradecky - "We matched the best team in the world"
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