Bayer Leverkusen beat Bayern Munich in crucial Bundesliga clash

Xabi Alonso’s side is yet to lose a match this season

By Web Desk
February 11, 2024
Bayer Leverkusen players celebrate after taking a lead against Bayern Munich. — AFP 

Bayer Leverkusen recorded a crucial 3-0 win against defending champions Bayern Munich at the BayArena on Saturday to take control of the Bundesliga title race.

Josip Stanisic, born in Munich and currently on loan from Bayern, broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, while Alex Grimaldo added another early in the second half.

Jeremie Frimpong secured a third goal in injury time, capitalising on a counter-attack after Manuel Neuer ventured forward for a Bayern corner. Leverkusen rounded off a convincing victory as they pursued the club's first-ever German title.

Bayern struggled to find answers against a dynamic and skilled Leverkusen side, who demonstrated fluidity in attack and maintained a solid defence to contain star striker Harry Kane.

With 13 games remaining this season, Leverkusen, five-time runners-up, now have a prime opportunity to end Bayern's 11-year dominance in the Bundesliga and shake off their unwanted 'Neverkusen' tag.

"From minute one until minute 90, we had our foot on the pedal," Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich told Sky.

Xavi Alonso told reporters "When you have players willing to make sacrifices, the team gets better."

A visibly frustrated Thomas Mueller lamented Bayern's dismal performance

"Leverkusen were taking risks, looking for solutions and playing football," he said.

"We're playing from A to B, B to C -- and nobody plays freely or takes risks."

Despite trailing Leverkusen by just two points, Bayern faced unusual pressure heading into the game.

The match was delayed by 10 minutes due to protests against the German Football Association's decision to allow increased foreign investment. Fans threw tennis balls and other objects onto the pitch as players warmed up.

Despite the disruption, Leverkusen displayed composure, sticking to their high-risk, high-reward approach against Bayern's tight press.

Although Amine Adli had an early chance, it was Stanisic who gave Leverkusen the lead against his parent club, slotting in a fine assist from Andrich.

Leverkusen, winners in all 16 instances they have taken the lead this season, continued their dominance after Stanisic's goal, with Florian Wirtz and Jonathan Tah posing threats.

Intent on extending their lead, Leverkusen emerged aggressively after halftime, with Grimaldo doubling their advantage five minutes into the second half from Tella's pass.

As the match drew to a close, Neuer's venture forward for a corner allowed Leverkusen's Frimpong to run the length of the field and seal an emphatic victory.