Newcomers Süle and Tolisso waste no time opening their accounts
Bayern Munich got off to the start that we all expected scoring two goals in the first 20 minutes and controlling the run of play for the majority of the first half. The defending champions came out in a 4-3-2-1 Christmas tree formation and it was the midfield that proved to be the sparkplug.
The former Hoffenheim duo, Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy, connected off a set piece in the ninth minute. Last season it would have been Xavi Alonso taking the kick about 30 yards out on the left side, but his retirement has opened the door for Rudy on set pieces and he did not disappoint. Rudy launched a delicious inswinger to the far post which Süle ran onto and powered into the net with his head for the first goal of the 2017-18 Bundesliga season.
Fellow newcomer Corentin Tolisso, Bayern’s best player on the day, didn’t want to feel left out and scored a goal of his own in the 19th minute. Joshua Kimmich took a corner from the right side which Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno punched away. Unfortunately for him the ball went right to Arturo Vidal who used some nifty juggling and lofted a ball to Tolisso at the far post who headed the ball into the net putting Bayern ahead 2-0.
Tolisso also had an early blast parried away and another shot come off the post in his excellent first half display.
Leverkusen did not have many chances aside from a 13th minute Admir Mehmedi shot that stand-in goalkeeper Sven Ulreich was able to save. If there was one complaint in the half it was that Bayern did not look completely comfortable playing out of the back and that led to a few questionable decisions by the defense. Ulreich did a fine job, but no keeper is better than Manuel Neuer with the ball at his feet.
Bayern takes foot off the gas in second half but still gets the three points
The Bavarians put it on cruise control for most of the second half especially after a 52nd minute goal from Robert Lewandowski, who was making his 150th appearance for Bayern. The attempt was taken calmly from the penalty spot and put Bayern in the lead 3-0. The goal was not without some controversy after the official used the VAR system to provide a “clear and obvious decision” where Charles Aránguiz pulled down the striker in the box that was originally missed. Leverkusen could have no complaints after watching the replay.
Up until about the 75th minute the visitors had the better run of play in the second half, punctuated by a thunderbolt of a goal by Mehmedi in the 65th minute to make it 3-1. Julian Brandt provided the assist and after coming on on halftime was the best player on either side in the second half.
The last fifteen minutes saw Bayern reclaim the game by grabbing and holding possession. Lewandowski and Arjen Robben, who came on as a substitute for Thomas Müller, both had late chances but they went for naught.
Mats Hummels went off in the 65th minute and was walking a little gingerly, something to keep an eye on. He seemed to be holding his midsection. Kimmich got crunched by a Karim Bellarabi tackle later in the half and stayed down for a few minutes but seemed okay.
Bayern: Süle (9’), Tolisso (19’), Lewandowski (53’)
Leverkusen: Mehmedi (65’)
Bayern: Vidal (63’)
Leverkusen: Kohr (8’), Aránguiz (‘52)
Bayern XI: Ulreich - Kimmich, Hummels (Rafinha, 62’), Süle, Alaba, Rudy, Tolisso, Vidal, Müller (Robben, 61’), Lewandowski, Ribéry (Coman, 77)
Leverkusen XI: Leno - Henrichs, Tah, Bender, S. (Dragović, 46’), Wendell, Kohr, Aránguiz (Kampl, 61’), Bellarabi, Bailey (Brandt, 46), Volland, Mehmedi