Albeit from a pair of mistakes from Jonathan Tah and Lukáš Hrádecký, Bayern Munich left the BayArena with a vital 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen thanks to a brace from Robert Lewandowski. After level-pegging for the better part of the second half, Lewandowski capitalized on a cheap giveaway from Tah to score the winner in the 93rd minute to send Bayern back to the top of the Bundesliga table to head into the brief winterpause.
Despite securing the three points, Bayern certainly gave away a bulk of chances to a well disciplined, well drilled Leverkusen side, which Peter Bosz should take some encouragement from. Speaking after the match, Hansi Flick, Hasan Salihamidizc, Thomas Muller, and Lewandowski offered their thoughts on what was a truly hard fought, 90-minute battle in Leverkusen (FCBayern.com).
Flick was cognizant of the lapse in concentration in defense Bayern had for Patrick Schick’s thunderous volley off of a corner kick in the 14th minute, which broke the deadlock. It was the same sort of lack of attentiveness in the back that lead to Bayern conceding a goal to VfL Wolfsburg’s Maximilian Philipp midweek. “We really wanted to win. You could tell that the team had the desire to do so. We went a goal down again due to a mistake, that happens. At the moment, every mistake we make is being punished. But the team has the quality to always come back in these games and win them for us and they believe in their own strength until the very final whistle. From that point of view, flying home from Leverkusen with a victory under our belts is the conclusion we all wanted for this year. With this we have concluded a fantastic year for FC Bayern and this team,” Flick explained.
Hasan Salihamidzic also highlighted Bayern’s struggles early on against Leverkusen. Still, though, Brazzo couldn’t hold back his admiration for the never-say-die mentality amongst the squad and the never-ending fight they’ve continued to show all season long: “It was a difficult match, a top match. We struggled a lot at the beginning. But we upped the ante in the last 10 minutes of the first half and in the second half. At the end of the day it was a deserved win. The team didn’t just show their mentality today, they’ve shown it throughout the year. The team did an outstanding job. We must pay everyone a huge compliment, the coaches and the players. We’re very satisfied. We’ve struggled over the last few weeks, we need the few days of rest. We’ve travelled a lot and had many matches. We want to go for it again next year, advance in the Champions League and the cup and win the league title. We have tough competition but the lads are doing a good job.”
Well aware that this clash was 1st vs. 2nd in the Bundesliga just ahead of the winterpause, Muller said this match felt like a cup final. Much like Brazzo, Muller was thoroughly impressed with the way his side pressed on until the dying minutes and were able to find an all important winner to go top of the table: “It was like a final. We wanted to show we’re the best team in Germany, and we saw Leverkusen are very close to us. They hurt us. We didn’t make it easier for ourselves when we conceded the goal. It was like the last few matches, it wasn’t easy for us. But it also shows how much we can take. The fact we scored the match-winner in the last second is a great end to a Hollywood film of our year. The victory may have been deserved in terms of spirit and mentality. We invested a whole lot. You could see both teams got tired. But I felt we were on the front foot. But at the end of the day you just need a bit of luck.”
As a Bayern fan, if you weren’t already pleased enough, Lewandowski added that this Bayern side is remaining incredibly hungry for continued success. The Polish ace scored his 16th and 17th Bundesliga goals of the season in the win over Leverkusen and said that it was the fighting team spirit that got them over the line on an evening where they were far from their sharpest: “We always want more. From the new year, we want to keep playing like this and go from win to win. The workload has been tough on both teams lately. You could see that. We didn’t have that sharpness. Today we played a few bad passes. Leverkusen perhaps had the game under control, but what we showed as a team was sensational.”
The winner from Lewandowski in the 93rd minute:
LEWANDOWSKI AT THE DEATH!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 19, 2020
Bayern Munich go top of the league before the break! pic.twitter.com/wRzmjFCw7Z