Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey has revealed how he got the better of Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich with a stunning free-kick on Matchday 20 – instigating a sensational come-from-behind victory that could potentially play a decisive role in this season's title race.
Bayern were leading 1-0 at the time and on course to record an eighth straight Bundesliga win when Bailey stepped up to take a free-kick in the 53rd minute, about 30 yards out and slightly right of centre.
Ulreich, who was playing for the first time this season after regular No.1 Manuel Neuer suffered a hand injury in training on Friday, had done his homework. Or so he thought, until Bailey struck the ball right in its sweet spot, sending a powerful, swerving effort around the wall and into the net.
"Bailey often hits it over the wall, that's something we analysed and looked at a lot during the week," the 30-year-old custodian told Bild after the final whistle.
"It was a very good free-kick. It went in right by the post. Even if I'd been half a metre further to my right I'd have struggled to save it."
So what exactly did Bailey do? "I tricked Sven," the Jamaican said at the final whistle. "I'd already scored a free-kick against him in the other corner [in last season's DFB Cup semi-finals]. I knew that he often takes a small step towards the side covered by the wall, so I deliberately chose the other side. I caught the free-kick perfectly, it was a good trick."
Watch: Bailey talks us through his wondergoal
Not only that, but it ended Bailey's five-month goal drought in the Bundesliga, the 21-year-old winger having last found the target against Wolfsburg on Matchday 2. "I'm grateful that I could help the team again with a moment like this," he said. "Obviously I haven't scored a goal in a long time and it will give me a lot more confidence."
It did much more than that. Not only did it prove to be the catalyst Leverkusen needed to start a comeback, with further goals from Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario sealing a 3-1 win that lifts Leverkusen up to seventh, it simultaneously dented Bayern's title hopes, as Borussia Dortmund moved seven points clear at the top thanks to their 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.