FULL TIME: 6-2 Although Leverkusen seemed poised to make the match interested, they fell apart in the second half as Bayern ruthlessly exploited every mistake to take an impregnable four-goal lead.
(78') MÜLLER'D! 6-2! Thiago’s free kick finds Müller precisely where he wants to be found. With classic grace and beauty, Müller spins about and shoots the ball into the right corner.
(72’) LEON BAILEY makes it 5-2. Did I say Leon Bailey was good? He’s good. Bailey scores in the near post for Leverkusen on a wonderful free kick from outside the box. He found the one hole in #SvenTheWall.
(64’) ROBBEN! 5-1. Ribery makes yet another run against Leverkusen. This time the ball finds its way to the feet of Arjen Robben, who shoots it into the net, as Müller, standing in an offside position, hops gingerly out of the way.
(60’) THIAGOALLLLLLL!!!!!!! A minute after a Leverkusen goal is negated for an offside call on Kevin Volland, Bayern make it 4-1: Ribery makes yet another penetrating run into Leverkusen’s box. As he is stopped outside the box, he finds Robben running inside. Robben in turn lays the ball back to Thiago, who shoots it clear through a knot of three players. Leno can only watch.
(52') MÜLLER’D! Bayern 3-1. Thiago sends a perfect ball over Leverkusen’s defense to find Thomas Müller splitting the defense. Onside and one on one with Bernd Leno, Müller fires the ball into the net. Bayern have regained a comfortable 2-goal lead.
(50’) Leverkusen with two chances: Kevin Volland receives a wide-open shot just outside the right-hand corner of the net, but Boateng manages to come between him and block the shot. Then Bellarabi finds another change, but Ulreich makes yet another spectacular save.
SECOND HALF! Are you ready for Leon Bailey?! Heiko Herrlich is going for broke: left-back Retsos is making way for straight Jamaican fyah Leon Bailey. This seems to entail a system change from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-3, with Bailey positioned as left wing-back. It’s a final for Leverkusen, and they are taking the risk.
Meanwhile, Rafinha has replaced David Alaba at left-back. We will see whether there is more to that than meets the eye.
(40’) Lars Bender injured. It looks as if Leverkusen’s captain has injured his knee, possibly hyperextending it after landing awkwardly. Bender was clearly in pain, but he seems prepared to continue. If Herrlich indeed takes him out of the game, Retsos will take his place in the center, while Henrichs will play on the right.
(37’) What a save! Bellarabi catches Bayern’s entire defense off guard as he blasts a long shot right through the penalty area into the corner of the net—but Sven Ulreich makes a phenomenal diving save to knock what would have been a sure goal. #SvenTheWall, folks!
(32’) More chaos in Bayern’s box: Leverkusen again get an unlikely chance as Bayern’s defense seems disorganized in the face of another attack. Sven Bender takes a quick shot at the near post out of the confusion, but Sven Ulreich is prepared and blocks the shot.
Bayern counter with a fast break of their own, but Thomas Müller's shot is similarly blocked. Müller serves up a pretty cross to Thiago moments later, but Lewandowski chases it himself and heads it off target and out of danger.
(16’) LEVERKUSEN SCORE: 2-1! A chaotic scene in front of Bayern’s goal: Julian Brant launches a free kick from well outside the box into a melee of players. As players hit the ground, the ball is deflected from danger, then shot off of Jerome Boateng. Lars Bender finds it dropping in front of him and heads it into the far corner, leaving Sven Ulreich no chance.
(11’) Yellow card: Retsos. The defender makes a late tackle on Joshua Kimmich and clips him on the leg. The referee duly draws the yellow card.
(9’) BAYERN 2-0! Franck Ribery and Robert Lewandoski ain’t messin’ around. Ribery makes a bold run into Leverkusen’s penalty area. He lobs the ball across the area to the right flank where Lewandowski is lurking unmarked off center. Lewandowski fires the ball on the volley and it skids into the far corner of the goal.
(2’) BAYERN 1-0! Jerome Boateng delivers a phenomenal pass over Leverkusen’s defense, finding Thomas Müller unmarked at the far corner of the goal. Müller's header is blocked by Bernd Leno, but the ball rolls out to Javi Martinez who fires across the box into the opposite corner—just under Lewandowski's legs—to put the team ahead.
Leverkusen respond with a very dangerous attack of their own, but Sven Ulreich blocks Kevin Volland's shot.
KICKOFF! And we are underway! Bayern and Bayer line up in opposing 4-2-3-1 systems. It will be exciting to see how this match plays out. Bayer start with possession and give Bayern a scare, as Karim Bellarabi receives a long pass and tries to get behind David Alaba.
20 minutes before kickoff: As you may have noticed Corentin Tolisso is not even in the squad today. He suffered a nasty knock on his foot against Gladbach and had an MRI earlier. Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt discovered that the injury was more serious than initially thought. We all hope he recovers soon.
Jupp Heynckes has rolled out a Robbery lineup of old; a 4-2-4-1 with Javi Martinez and Thiago forming a double-pivot, while Franck Ribery, Thomas Müller, and Arjen Robben support Robert Lewandowski at striker. Starting both Ribery and Robben leaves little room for other offensive midfielders, so James Rodriguez begins on the bench. The rest of the lineup is as expected.
1 hour to kickoff: Leverkusen’s lineup is out:
Fierce! It looks like Heiko Herrlich is going for a 4-2-3-1 with a back-line of Tah, Retsos and the Bender Brothers, Baumgartlinger and Aranguiz in midfield, and an offense consisting of Brandt, Havertz and Bellarabi supporting Volland. The only surprise: Bellarabi instead of Leon Bailey. Given Bellarabi’s performance against Eintracht Frankfurt, that’s not so shocking.
Hey, remember that Bayern Munich play in a cup game today? Did you forget? No worries, it’s not hard to miss. As a competition, the DFB Pokal can often fly under the radar — overshadowed by the more glamorous Champions League and the weekly Bundesliga. However, it’s still a key component of the treble, and Bayern’s stated goal at the beginning of the season is to win it.
Bayern Munich come into the game with a number of injuries. Kingsley Coman and Manuel Neuer remain unavailable, while Arturo Vidal was recently sidelined by a knee injury. According to Jupp Heynckes, Corentin Tolisso will also be unable to play, due to some undisclosed injury. Despite all this, Bayern are expected to play their strongest possible lineup, not too different from what is expected against Real Madrid next week.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany
Time: 8:45 pm local time, 2:45 pm EST
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