Bundesliga

Bayern squeeze past spirited Leverkusen

FC Bayern München returned to winning ways on Saturday evening with a 2-1 victory at home to Bayer 04 Leverkusen to reduce the gap at the top of the table to three points.

FC Bayern München 2-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

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Goals: 1-0 Thiago (30'), 1-1 Calhanoglu (35'), 2-1 Hummels (56')

This game was billed as the headline fixture of the weekend and it did not disappoint. Both teams pressed high and looked to attack whenever they gained possession, and although Bayern marginally shaded the opening exchanges it remained goalless until the half-hour mark, when Thiago headed in from close range after Bernd Leno parried Phillip Lahm's shot. However, Leverkusen replied shortly afterwards, Hakan Calhanoglu rifling into the roof of the net after a neat one-two with Julian Brandt.

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It remained a fast-paced affair after the restart, and Bayern once again edged in front thanks to Mats Hummels' excellent header from a corner. Unbowed, Leverkusen continued to attack and coach Roger Schmidt brought on strikers Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and Kevin Volland as the visitors pushed for an equaliser. The latter went within inches of rescuing a point in the closing stages after flicking the ball over Manuel Neuer, but Javi Martinez recovered to clear and save the victory for the reigning champions.

- © gettyimages / Matthias Hangst

Talking point

Bayern may not have been firing on all cylinders, but here they demonstrated that they are willing to graft as they look to regain top spot from RB Leipzig.

Match stats

    Martinez made his first appearance for Bayern after a month out with injury.Thiago scored his sixth Bundesliga goal in this game, and first with his head.Calhanoglu has now scored as many goals this term (three) as he did in the entire 2015/16 season.

Line-ups

Bayern München: Neuer – Lahm (Vidal 82'), Martinez, Hummels, Alaba – Kimmich, Alonso, Thiago – Müller (Robben 65'), Lewandowski, Costa (Ribery 74')

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti

Leverkusen: Leno – Henrichs, Tah, Dragovic, Wendell – Havertz, Kampl, Aranguiz, Brandt (Volland 59') – Calhanoglu, Mehmedi (Chicharito 59')

Coach: Roger Schmidt