Ten-man FC Bayern München played out only their second draw of the season on Matchday 20, with Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s well-organised rearguard holding the champions to a 0-0 stalemate.
Red cards: Xabi Alonso (84’)
With Pep Guardiola hunting a first Bundesliga win in Leverkusen, the champions began in confident mood. Arturo Vidal and Xabi Alonso dominated midfield and accordingly Bayern moved the ball crisply, looking to take advantage of Kingsley Coman and Arjen Robben’s speed on the flanks. For their part, Leverkusen remained content to rely on the counter-attack, but failed to carve out many chances of their own. Ömer Toprak’s early header from a corner was the closest either side came to an opening goal in the first period, with the exchanges predominantly taking place in a crowded midfield.
Within five minutes of the restart, Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez shot inches wide from distance, an effort that served to spark the game into life. Bayern began to attack with intent, both Robben and Robert Lewandowski denied at the last by sprawling Leverkusen defenders. The introduction of Thomas Müller and Thiago allowed the visitors to increase their control of proceedings, the Germany international spurning two excellent chances in quick succession before the 70-minute mark. The champions huffed and puffed thereafter, but Alonso’s late dismissal for a second bookable offence put paid to any hopes of victory.
Man of the match
For the second week in succession, Joshua Kimmich was outstanding in the Bayern defence. His reading of the game and off-the-ball movement in an uncustomary position was outstanding.
Leverkusen have become a real force to be reckoned with on home turf this term. Roger Schmidt’s side have only lost twice at the BayArena since August and on this evidence it is easy to see why. The hosts were exceptionally well organised throughout and posed the champions all manner of problems.
- Vidal began his first game of 2016 at the BayArena, where he played for Leverkusen between 2007 and 2011.
- For the seventh game in succession Bayern did not concede in the first half.
- Guardiola has never won a Bundesliga match at the BayArena.
Leverkusen: Leno – Jedvaj (Hilbert 51’), Tah, Toprak (c), Wendell – Bellarabi (Mehmedi 87’), Kramer, Kampl, Calhanoglu - Chicharito, Kiessling (Brandt 74’)
Bayern: Neuer - Lahm (c), Kimmich, Badstuber, Alaba - Alonso, Vidal (Thiago, 52’) – Robben (Müller 60’), Coman (Rode 87’), Costa – Lewandowski