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Bayern march on but Leverkusen resist

On Sunday evening, it’s a fair bet the Bayern camp was privately hoping Bayer Leverkusen might slip up away to Hoffenheim, especially with the additional pressure applied by FCB’s impressive victory in Bremen the previous day. But Bayer nerves held, and the Rhineland outfit reclaimed first place in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 3-0 success, restoring their two-point lead over Munich.

“It would have been nice to go top,” commented Christian Nerlinger, “but I’m more interested in the football we’re playing at the moment. It gives us all hope.” The 3-2 win in Bremen, which both victors and vanquished agreed could have been a great deal more emphatic, means FCB have now won six Bundesliga fixtures in a row. That last happened in 2005-6 with Felix Magath as coach, a season which ended with the Bavarians winning the double.

Chief rivals Leverkusen

“The only thing which can stop us now is ourselves,” said Thomas Müller after Saturday’s success. As the dust settled on the 19th round of matches, Bayern moved up a place from third to second, after Magath’s Schalke conceded a stoppage-time equaliser in Bochum. The Reds are now a point ahead of the Royal Blues, Bayern’s best position in the standings all season.

However, unbeaten Leverkusen continue to resist Munich’s march up the standings from eighth place after 12 matches. “Bayern have overtaken us twice but we’ve hit back on both occasions. We’ve shown real durability,” said Toni Kroos, on loan from FCB to Bayer and again one of the best players on the park in Hoffenheim. Jupp Heynckes was unhappy with his side’s first half display, “but after that we showed we’re the leaders by rights," the Leverkusen boss observed.