Bayern Munich needed 9 more points to seal their eighth-consecutive Bundesliga title as they travel to face an in-form Bayer Leverkusen side. They picked up three on Saturday with a compelling 4-2 win. The Bavarians went off to a dismal start as indecision in the backline allowed Lucas Alario to beat the offside trap and score in the 10th minute.
However, they bit back quickly as Leon Goretzka stole the ball and set Kingsley Coman through to score the equalizer from close range in the 27th-minute. Bayern assumed complete control after that and took the lead in 42nd-minute after a beautiful counter-attack was finished off in style by Goretzka to make it 2-1.
Leverkusen started switching off towards the end, allowing Serge Gnabry to pick up a goal and give Bayern an unassailable 3-1 lead before the break. Robert Lewandowski got his customary goal with a powerful header in the 66th minute to further strengthen the lead.
The hosts got a consolation in the 89th minute when young Florian Wirtz curled one past Manuel Neuer. Nonetheless, it ended up being a dominant performance from Bayern, who now need just a few wins to get the title in the bag.
Bayern Munich Player Ratings
Hans Dieter-Flick (7.5) –
Dieter-Flick showcased a no-nonsense style by putting out a very strong team out. His team showed plenty of character to mount an impressive comeback after conceding early on. Flick’s impressive man-management and intricate tactics was clearly on show with beautiful one-touch stuff, high-press style and terrorizing swift-breaks.
Bayern averages more than 3 goals a game since he took on the job. That itself shows the influence he’s had in making the team find their dominant personality.
Manuel Neuer (5.5) –
Neuer was unable to make good use of his intimidating presence to deny Bayer’s early goal. Got outsmarted by Wirtz for the second. Won’t be happy with not getting the clean-sheet today.
Benjamin Pavard (5.5) –
Pavard has a difficult day ahead facing the menacing Leon Bailey. Should’ve read the move better leading up to the opener. The Frenchman was trifled by Moussa Diaby throughout the second half, but was lucky to see him unable to create or score. Not the best day personally for him.
Jerome Boateng(6.5) –
Boateng has an intimidating challenge ahead against a pacy attacking-line. However, he held his ground pretty well to ground his opponents. Boateng made some strong challenges and used his instincts to put a stop to some attacks.
David Alaba (6.0) –
Alaba’s indecisiveness cost his side during the opener, as he completely botched Bayern’s offside trap and blatantly played Alario onside to let him score. He almost redeemed himself with an excellent long ball into the box in the 26th, but Muller couldn’t control it properly. Sets up another good chance for Lewandowski later on. Lost his position for their second. Very mixed performance.
Alphonso Davies (7.0) –
The electric Canadian looks to be bumbling with energy today. Linking up really well with Coman and moving forward with menacing intent. Made an instinctive goal-saving block to deny Alario in the 55th. Should’ve gotten an assist after a blistering run and perfect pass that was wasted by Coman at the hour-mark. Another sparky performance from Bayern’s own road runner.
Joshua Kimmich (7.0) –
Kimmich is moving the ball around pretty well, but unable to stop Bayer’s swift breaks initially. Assisted Gnabry’s strike with a perfect long-ball from deep. Dictated the tempo pretty well from deep and made necessary challenges to protect his backline whenever they needed it.
Leon Goretzka (8.5) –
The tenacious midfielder recorded his side’s first shot on target with a looping header saved easily. His constant pressing worked wonders when he stole the ball off Bayer and cleverly assisted Coman’s equalizer.
Goretzka wasn’t done with that, as he started and completed the superb counter-attack with a powerful left-footed drive that went beyond the goalkeeper’s reach. The German midfielder made solid tackles, recovered the ball and was the first one to burst forward to instigate their counter-attacks. A perfect performance from midfield.
Thomas Muller (8.0) –
Muller created a beautiful move in the 24th-minute with an impressive fake and cross into the box. Missed a decent chance later on, before picking up a booking in the 40th which rules him out of next week’s game. Cleverly found Goretzka for his strike. Could’ve gotten a goal in the 50th, but his shot grazed wide of goal.
Struck a glancing header straight at the goalkeeper in the 61st. Picked up his second assist with a perfect cross for Lewandowski’s strike. That’s 20 (!) assists for his season! Bayern’s creator-in-chief’s unpredictable movement disoriented Leverkusen and his final passes were sublime. Only one assist away from breaking Kevin de Bruyne’s all-time record for most assists in a season. It’s only inevitable he breaks that now.
Kingsley Coman (7.5) –
Coman paid for trying to be too clever in the 8th minute, getting booked for diving. Then blasted a shot way wide in the 16th. However, he redeemed his early slumbers by superbly getting behind the Bayer defence and smoothly slotting the ball into the net to make it 1-1. Played a cheeky pass leading up to Goretzka’s strike.
Tormenting defenders by interchanging positions all the time. Recovered well from a bad start to add sparks in Bayern’s attack.
Serge Gnabry (6.5) –
Gnabry had a quiet first-half which turned worse after he missed an easy one-v-one chance to make it 3-1 in the 44th minute. But he didn’t make any mistake a minute later, wonderfully chipping the goalkeeper to get his goal. Missed opportunity to score another at the 64th when he scuffed a free shot over the bar from close range.
Robert Lewandowski (7.0) –
Lewandowski is prowling around the penalty area like a predator in the early minutes. He was frustrated by Bayer’s close marking early on and picked up a booking around the half-hour mark which means he’ll miss next week’s game. Slotted a shot wide from a difficult angle in the 39th.
Even after having a quiet game, he still manages to score with a thumping header. The Polish goal-machine almost got another after a clever move through a few defenders in the 86th but his shot was saved.
Ivan Perisic (6.0) –
Added a bit more zing to Bayern’s attack after coming on.
Javi Martinez (N/R) –
Helped his side see out the game and made some strong challenges in his cameo.
Thiago Alcantara (N/R) –
Showed off his stylish passing and trickery range in his little cameo.
Lucas Hernandez (N/R) –
Hernandez displayed some real lazy defending to allow Leverkusen’s second.
MAN OF THE MATCH
A number of performers shone through, but I felt Goretzka was a level above everyone else. Showcased immense fighting spirit to bulldoze the comeback, contributed heavily defensively and instigated all the counter-attacks. Starting to shine in this system.