Bayern Munich let Borussia Dortmund keep their top spot in the Bundesliga table as they fell 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen, conceding two penalties at the BayArena. In the previous two match weeks, Dortmund had gone provisionally ahead of Bayern due to having earlier kickoffs, but this time Dortmund retain the throne as there will now be an international break for friendlies and Euro 2024 qualifiers. It’s not the kind of negative momentum Julian Nagelsmann would’ve wanted ahead of April 1st’s all important installment of der Klassiker.
Both penalties required VAR as both were originally ruled out as yellow card simulation offenses by Leverkusen’s Amine Adli. The first was during a coming together where Benjamin Pavard stepped on the winger’s boot, causing it to come off in the box, while the second was contact from a Dayot Upamecano sliding challenge just inside the box. Exequiel Palacios converted both of the second half penalties, canceling out Joshua Kimmich’s first half goal and earing Die Werkself a vital three points.
Bayern only has themselves to blame for the loss, and Leverkusen was fully deserving of the victory. Individual mistake cost the Rekordmeister dearly, but Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso felt his side truly deserved the three points when he spoke after the match was over.
“The performance and the win are incredible, Bayern are one of the best teams in Europe at the moment. We expected an intense game and we played with intensity and were good with the ball. I agree (with Nagelsmann), it was a deserved win for us and very important,” Bayern’s former midfielder explained (via @iMiaSanMia).
Bayern may just have narrowly edged out Leverkusen with six shots on target to Die Werkself’s five, but overall, the home side were resolute, disciplined, and never really allowed Bayern to get a strong foothold throughout proceedings. Lukas Hradecky was required to make a handful of decent saves in the closing stages of the match, but he was kept relatively quiet in the first half, bar making an attempt to keep out Kimmich’ shot that had taken a rather fortuitous deflection en route to the back of the net.
Want more discussion about the game? Check out the post-game podcast! Samrin breaks down team selection, substitutions, big omissions for Bayern and Germany, and a look ahead at the Champions League tie against Manchester City. Listen below or on Spotify!
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