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Still eight points clear

Reds rue lack of 'killer touch' in Leverkusen

Did Bayern earn a point or drop two on Saturday? There was no definite answer to this question after a goalless draw in the top clash away to Bayer Leverkusen. “We could have taken three big points here,” commented Holger Badstuber, “we haven't achieved it, which is why I'm not entirely happy.” His team-mates also rued a clutch of missed chances in the second half. “We could have and ought to have scored a goal or two. It's a pity we didn't make the most of it,” according to Thomas Müller.

The capacity crowd at the BayArena saw a goalless but interesting match with two completely different halves: before the break it was a tight tactical contest, but after half-time both sides went on the attack. “In the first half we didn't manage to play our game. Instead, they forced their game on us a bit. We played long passes a little too often,” analysed Müller.

However, Bayern had more space after the break as the hosts became visibly tired. Munich upped the pace on the wings again and again. Only “the killer touch” was missing, commented Müller. Manuel Neuer, who kept a clean sheet with Holger Badstuber and a strong Joshua Kimmich in central defence for the second time in a row, saw more and more “successful one-on-ones on the wings. Unfortunately we didn't put the ball in the net.”

Dismay at Alonso's dismissal

Six minutes before the final whistle Xabi Alonso was sent off for a second bookable offence, the first Bundesliga dismissal for the Spaniard. It was a harsh decision by referee Knut Kircher, the more so as Alonso was a long way from being the worst offender in a physical contest up to that point. Pep Guardiola's comment was straightforward: “The first foul rightly deserved a booking, the second didn’t.” But even without Alonso the FCB defence was solid, and the Bavarians still looked more likely to score than Leverkusen. “We clearly improved in the second half,” David Alaba remarked.

The German record champions retain their eight-point-lead at the top of the standings because Hertha Berlin held Borussia Dortmund to another goalless draw, meaning the Reds still have a comfortable cushion for the weeks to come. Before travelling to face Augsburg in the Bundesliga next Sunday, the Bavarians play another match away from home: they encounter in-form second-tier VfL Bochum in the DFB Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday. “We know it's going to be a tough match,” said Badstuber: “Bochum have nothing to lose, they’re playing in front of their own crowd... and the visitors are FC Bayern.”