FC Bayern fell 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday evening. Leon Bailey handed the Rhineland outfit the lead early in the first half. Thomas Müller levelled the scores after the half-hour, but Leverkusen replied almost immediately when Bailey rounded off his brace. Bayern were dominant in the second half but failed to reward themselves, hitting the woodwork three times on Saturday.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Benjamin Pavard, Javi Martínez, David Alaba and Alphonso Davies in a back four. Müller, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka took up station in midfield, with Ivan Perišić and Serge Gnabry out wide and Robert Lewandowski up front. Kingsley Coman and Philippe Coutinho took over from Perišić and Müller midway through the second half, Thiago replacing Martínez with ten minutes to go.
Frantic first half
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a high-octane encounter between two evenly-matched sides. Martínez miscued a header before Alaba set up Gnabry, who hit the post. Leverkusen's Kevin Volland soon played a defence-splitting pass to Bailey, who raced clear and beat Neuer. Müller saw an effort blocked before Perišić hit the bar, but the linesman had his flag up for offside anyway.
Moussa Diaby drew a save from Neuer before Gnabry fired over the bar. Müller soon found the net with the help of a slight deflection, but the visitors restored their lead almost immediately when Volland set up Bailey with another through-ball, the forward firing past Neuer and into the far corner of the net. Lewandowski soon had only Bayer netminder Lukas Hradecky to beat but slotted wide. Gnabry raced clear and squared to Perišić, but Lars Bender made a fine tackle to spoil the chance, and a more than deserved equaliser refused to come for Bayern in the first half.
Woodwork denies Bayern
Proceedings were similar after the restart, Goretzka directing a header just wide. Neuer made a strong save to deny Nadiem Amiri before Lewandowski and Perišić saw efforts go wide. Hradecky denied both Lewandowski and Müller, Neuer proving equal to Diaby at the other end. Amiri had the ball in the back of the net but was flagged for offside.
Goretzka hit the post, but another goal just refused to come. Jonathan Tah was sent off for upending Coutinho, Lewandowski seeing the ensuing free-kick saved. Bayern desperately chased an equaliser now, but Hradecky saved from Coutinho and Gnabry before directing a Lewandowski header onto the bar. Gnabry fired wide before Hradecky denied Lewandowski, and a highly entertaining match ended in an unlucky defeat for Bayern.
The result means Bayern have 24 points from 13 matches, lying fourth in the table. The Bavarians will be back in action next Saturday, when they travel to face Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
- See our live ticker to relive the match action
Neuer – Pavard, Martínez (Thiago 80), Alaba, Davies – Müller (Coutinho 69), Kimmich, Goretzka – Perišić (Coman 69), Lewandowski, Gnabry
Ulreich – Boateng, Tolisso
Hrádecky – L. Bender, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell (Sinkgraven 65) – Baumgartlinger, Aránguiz (Demirbay 80) – Diaby, Amiri, Bailey (Bellarabi 63) - Volland
Özcan – Retsos, Dragovic, Paulinho, Alario, Havertz
Guido Winkmann (Kerken)
0-1 Bailey (10), 1-1 Müller (34) 1-2 Bailey (35)
Goretzka / Baumgartlinger, Bellarabi, S. Bender