Bayern Munich took yet another big step forward in securing their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title with their 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen at the Bay Arena. After conceding a goal inside of the first ten minutes from Lucas Alario, goals from Kingsley Comman, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, and Robert Lewandowski sealed the three points for Bayern before a late consolation goal from 17-year old Florian Wirtz, who became the youngest ever goal scorer in the Bundesliga.
It was clear that Peter Bosz had setup his Leverkusen side to press Bayern in their defensive third to deny them time on the ball and the ability to freely play out from the back. Die Werkself did exceptionally well in the opening periods of applying heavy pressure and it lead to Alario’s opener, but Bayern eventually grew into the game well.
Speaking after the match, Hansi Flick highlighted his side’s adaptive ability and response, saying the early goal was actually a catalyst for them to sharpen up (FCBayern.com): “Football is about winning your matches. We’ve demonstrated it impressively in 2020. We had problems at the beginning, which rightly led to the opener. But we bounced back, we demonstrated our attitude and mentality. It was actually quite good to go a goal down because the team picked themselves up.”
Neuer echoed Flick’s praise, noting that Bayern maintained the right mentality, despite conceding so early on with a marginal (non) offside decision. Personally, Neuer made a total of 4 saves from Leverkusen’s 6 shots on target, but he certainly would’ve preferred collecting another clean sheet.
Still, Neuer recognized his side’s quality shone through in the end against a difficult, feisty opponent: “Our mentality made the difference today. We conceded a goal after nine minutes, we were up against strong opponents. But Wolfsburg won here, so we can certainly do the same. We showed that, we were the better team. We needed some time to get a grip but struck ruthlessly then.”
Goretzka has been a force to be reckoned with since the Bundesliga has restarted, an he’s been a key piece in Bayern’s midfield. He capped off his performance with a goal and an assist against Leverkusen, highlighting how much of an asset he’s been for Flick since matches resumed from the corona crisis break.
Being able to battle through difficult situations, he said, is a big part of what’s made this Bayern team so successful, as was the case after trailing early against Leverkusen: “It was a good game. We didn’t start well, but that’s what characterizes us at the moment. Finding our way back by fighting hard and battling in one-on-ones. It’s not easy to turn the tide against strong opponents. We did that well. We engaged cruise control in the last 20 or 30 minutes.”