FT: On a day that Dortmund dropped points, Bayern Munich once again displayed mental fragility to give up a lead to lose 3-1. Another game where points have been dropped from a winning position. Here are some initial reactions to tide you over until the post-game articles:
- The title race seems all but dead now. If Bayern can’t capitalize when BVB drop points, and instead fall further behind, it’s clear that this team isn’t built for a title challenge.
- The midfield was overwhelmed. Joshua Kimmich had a poor game, and that’s what resulted in two of the three Leverkusen goals.
- Bosz’s pressing system completely annihilated Bayern Munich. This doesn’t bode well for the game against Liverpool. But did anyone think we could get past them in the first place?
- James Rodriguez didn’t make a convincing case to start going forward, this doesn’t bode well for the Colombian.
- Conceding the first goal from a direct free kick was terrible. Before that, Bayern were limiting Leverkusen’s attack. Afterward, the next two goals conceded were counterattacks as a result of Bayern pushing for the win/equalizer.
- In a lone bright spot, Alphonso Davies had a good outing. Within a few second of coming on, he won a corner. Later, he easily dribbled past two Leverkusen defenders and had to be pushed off the ball — however, the referee didn’t give the foul. The officiating was quite poor overall.
90’ + 3 — Gnabry’s shot from outside of the box is blocked and spilled by Leverkusen’s keeper, but no one is there to gather the reboound.
87’ — Leverkusen puts the ball in the back of the net. it is called offside. VAR overturns the call. GOAL LEVERKUSEN. Bayern trails 1-3
84’ — Things get chippy on the sideline as Leverkusen appears to be time-wasting
79’ — Renato Sanches comes on for Rafihna. Kimmich slides back to right-back
76’ — Alphonso Davies comes on for James, wins corner immediately. Leverkusen defends well
74’ — Serge Gnabry comes on for Müller
68’ — Bayern has a few chances, but the Leverkusen defense stays strong. End-to-end action continues
63’ — GOAL LEVERKUSEN. Volland breaks the deadlock. Bayern trail 1-2.
60’ — Both teams have chances, but both defenses stand strong. Still 1-1.
51’ — GOAL LEVERKUSEN. 1-1 Leon Bailey scores on a free-kick after Coman gets a yellow card for a foul outside of the box.
Leon Bailey and Leverkusen came back from 0-1 down to beat Bayern 3-1.— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 2, 2019
His stunning free kick equalizer got it all started. pic.twitter.com/Rm0EgMsr5s
46’ — Bayer kicks off to begin the second half.
Halftime: It’s been a closely fought contest, but Bayern Munich are edging it 1-0. It could’ve been 2-0, but VAR ruled that Lewandowski was just barely offside. Here are some ibservations from the half:
- Kingsley Coman has been deadly from the left. His pace is terrorizing Leverkusen.
- Another goal for Leon Goretzka, this man is on fire!
- James Rodriguez has shown a good account of himself in the first 45 minutes, but he’s missing that final incisive moment of magic he’s known for.
- Joshua Kimmich has been losing balls in midfield too easily. He seems like a liability against Leverkusen’s press.
- Mats Hummels’ pass in the buildup to the goal was one of the best we’ve seen this season.
45’ + 2’ — Lewandowski offside in a great play.
41’ — Mats Hummels puts a beautiful ball up the field straight to Coman who has a one-on-one break with the keeper. The shot is blocked, but the ball comes back into the box for Leon Goretzka to make it 1-0.
35’ — Bayer picks up two yellow cards in succession. Kimmich picks up one as well, just minutes later.
30’ — Bayer wins a free-kick about 10 yards outside the box. Leon Bailey puts it right over Ulreich’s goal.
27’ — Kinglsey Coman stops Bellarabi with a good bit of defending.
25’ — Leon Goretzka misses a huge chance.
17’ — Kimmich weaves through three defenders and passes it into the box for but Bayer’s keeper came out to grab it before James could get to it. Still 0-0
13’ — Action on both ends of the field leads to shots from both teams. James had what appeared to be a good shot opportunity, but tried to pass instead.
7’ — Bayern wins corner. James gets the ball in the box but can’t do anything with it.
2’ — The ball goes off Hummell’s hand. Ref gives corner kick after seemingly conferring with VAR. Bayern defends ensuing corner well.
Kickoff! The game is underway!
One hour until kickoff: Lineups are out! Has someone kidnapped Kovac? Thomas Muller and James Rodirguez are starting a game together for the first time since Schalke.
Bayern Munich return to action in the Bundesliga, and this time it’s Bayer Leverkusen who are given the task of stopping them. With Borussia Dortmund playing Eintracht Frankfurt away from home this week, it’s crucial that Niko Kovac and his men pick up all three points to ensure the title race stays alive.
The big news this week — captain Manuel Neuer has hurt his thumb and did not travel with the team to Leverkusen, meaning that Sven Ulreich will make an elusive appearance. In Neuer’s absence, Thomas Muller is the most likely candidate to don the captain’s armband, with the raumdeuter expected to be deplyed behind Robert Lewandowski in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
With Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery both ruled out, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are expected to start on the wings, with Alphonso Davies being an option from the bench. Thiago Alcantara will probably be out, which means Joshua Kimmich might have to slot back into midfield, necessitating Rafinha to fill in at right back. With all these last-minute injuries, it will be interesting to see how Bayern will come.
It’s Bayern time.
Location: BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany
Time: 3:30 pm local time, 9:30 am EST
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