Exequiel Palacios hits penalty double as Bayer Leverkusen stun Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen came from behind to beat Bayern Munich 2-1, with two Exequiel Palacios penalties securing all three points at the BayArena.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Bayern Munich
Goals: 0-1 Kimmich 22' (assist: Goretzka), 1-1 Palacios (pen.) 55', 2-1 Palacios (pen.) 73'
Xabi Alonso, facing his former club Bayern for the first time as a manager, has rejuvenated Die Werkself since replacing Gerardo Seoane in October, and it was his side who made the stronger start. Florian Wirtz, making just his fifth Bundesliga start of the season, looked lively after earning a Germany call-up in midweek, while Moussa Diaby also impressed, firing just wide of Yann Sommer's right-hand post from outside the area early on. Jeremie Frimpong then forced the Swiss goalkeeper into a save down low as the hosts looked to make the most of their superiority. However, Bayern are a dangerous animal even when not at their best, and the Bavarians broke the deadlock midway through the opening period against the run of play. Joshua Kimmich was the goalscorer, burying Leon Goretzka's pass via the help of an Edmond Tapsoba deflection, and that proved to be the only goal before the interval despite Leverkusen's best efforts.
Amine Adli did not make much of an impact prior to the half-time whistle, but he played a crucial role as the hosts staged a stunning comeback in the second period. Shortly after he had dragged a shot wide, the Frenchman fell under pressure from Benjamin Pavard in the penalty area and, although referee Tobias Stieler initially gave Adli a yellow card for simulation, a penalty was awarded following a trip to the pitch-side monitor. From the spot, Palacios sent Sommer the wrong way to restore parity - the least Leverkusen deserved. Incredibly, following a short spell of Bayern pressure, a repeat of the first spot-kick unfolded, as the man in the middle again adjudged Adli to have thrown himself to the floor without contact, this time with Dayot Upamecano breathing down his neck, before a VAR review helped overturn the decision. While Sommer dove the right way on this occasion, he was still powerless to stop Palacios' effort from rippling the net. As the visitors laid siege to Lukas Hradecky's goal in search of a response, the Finland goalkeeper needed to make saves to deny Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Alphonso Davies, but Leverkusen ultimately rode out the storm to clinch the three points. Alonso will be delighted with his team's performance, but Borussia Dortmund may prove to be the biggest beneficiaries, as the result means they are one point ahead of Bayern at the summit ahead of a mouth-watering Klassiker after the international break.
- Palacios' brace took him to three league goals for this campaign, the best tally of his career to date.
- He is also the first Leverkusen player to score twice from the spot in one game since Dimitar Berbatov, against Kaiserslautern, in 2006.
- Only Dortmund (31) have picked up more points over the past 13 games than Leverkusen's 28.
- This was Bayern's first defeat after taking the lead this season, after avoiding defeat when moving ahead on 19 previous occasions (won 15, drawn four).
- Bayern's 10-game unbeaten run on Sundays came to an end.
- There have been six penalties awarded Bayern this season, the biggest number after 25 matchdays since the 1979/80 term.
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Watch: Palacios on his goalscoring double against Bayern
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Frimpong (Fosu-Mensah 90'+5), Kossounou, Tapsoba, Hincapie - Palacios, Andrich - Demirbay - Diaby (Tah 90'+1), Wirtz (Hlozek 84'), Adli (Bakker 84')
Unused subs: Pentz, Sinkgraven, Azhil, Hudson-Odoi, Azmoun
Out: Amiri (muscular), Bellarabi (ill), Aranguiz (calf), Lunev (back), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Bayern: Sommer - Pavard (Stanisic 56'), Upamecano, de Ligt - Cancelo (Coman 46'), Kimmich, Goretzka (Tel 76'), Davies - Sane - Müller (c) (Musiala 46'), Mane (Gnabry 46')
Unused subs: Ulreich, Blind, Mazraoui, Gravenberch
Out: Choupo-Moting (back), Hernandez (knee), Neuer (broken leg)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Watch: Yann Sommer looks ahead to Der Klassiker
Watch: Joshua Kimmich calls for more hard work
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