Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Bayern Munich | Recap

Alex Grimm

Bayern dominant in every possible category, yet are only able to muster one goal in matchup of Bundesliga title hopefuls.

After the match, the general content of the discussion online revolved around trying to recall other matches where a team was so thoroughly dominant and yet didn't exit the game with three points.

That's really what the match was, almost an historical occurrence that will serve as a reference point for more matches like this in the same way that the 2012 Champions League Final does to this day.

By the numbers, Bayern were six and seven times the force that Leverkusen were in many key categories. Passes, for one, ended 629 to 118. Passes completed in the attacking third still more uneven, with FCB making 285 to the Pharmaceutical's mere 41. Shots and possession were just as tilted in Bayern's favor, out-shooting their opponent 27 to 5 and keeping 78% of the ball.

So, then, how did Bayern not win?

Shortly after Toni Kroos scored to put them in the lead a half-hour into the match, Bayern pretty simply got unlucky.

The Bavarians were in the lead for all of one minute after Franck Ribery found Toni Kroos with loads of space in the penalty area just to his left of the spot. A one-touch strike with his left foot later and it was 1-0.

Leverkusen took the resulting kickoff and eventually worked the ball down the right side, where Lars Bender sent in a cross that brought Manuel Neuer out of his goal. Neuer deflected the cross, but the ball fell to Sebastian Boenisch at a difficult angle to the left of goal. With Neuer recovering, Boenisch put a powerful shot on frame, but Neuer did well to save again. The third time would be the charm for Leverkusen, however, because this save only served to assist Sidney Sam, who found the ball at his feet and an open net no more than five yards ahead. Sam merely passed in the equalizer.

The time before and after the two goals in the match were almost completely filled with Bayern probing forward in the attack, the cross from wingers Shaqiri and Ribery, as well as Schweinsteiger, Kroos and Rafinha being the weapon of choice.

Without a true striker for the second match in a row, Thomas Müller took the majority of the goal scoring burden and, unfortunately for his league-leading side, had an off day by his lofty standards. Not that Müller missing chances is something entirely new to Bayern, but he typically makes up for an early howler with one or two goals later on.

Today, though, it was all bad for Bayern's lanky German. I addition to pulling his first shot wide within the first 10 minutes, he inexplicably missed what should have been a routine headed goal after brilliant football displayed by Alaba and Ribery ended with Müller alone in space in front of goal. The cross required only the most average of on-target headers to result in his name being added to the scoresheet, but the attempt sailed wide.

The second half was even more dominant from Bayern than the first, forcing Leno to make save after save after save, but Bayern couldn't find the breakthrough.

Substitutes Robben and Götze tried to raise their side's attacking tempo and succeeded to some extent.

Bizarrely, the team that had tried time and time again to lead the attack with dangerous crosses suddenly decided the attack needed to be worked through the middle once their best aerial player, Mario Mandzukic, entered the match for Thomas Müller.

Bayern, sensing the three points were slipping away, mounted a final attack that saw two corners taken in stoppage time nearly win the match.
The last one resulted in a Leverkusen counter which had the potential to completely ruin the Reds' dominant performance but it eventually came to nothing.

Because of Dortmund's loss to Mönchengladbach, Bayern are now alone atop the Bundesliga table for the first time this season, though they didn't reach that point in the most preferable manner.

Next up is the international break, with the Bundesliga returning in two weeks.

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