FC Bayern beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on Saturday evening to reclaim top spot in the table in the last match of the year. Bayern went a goal down yet again when Patrik Schick put the hosts in front, but Robert Lewandowski equalised shortly before half-time. Bayern were dominant in the second half but had to wait until injury time to take three crucial points, the world's best player sealing a brace.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng, Lucas Hernández and Alphonso Davies in a back four. David Alaba and Corentin Tolisso featured in a twin holding role behind Kingsley Coman, Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry, with Lewandowski as sole striker. Coman had to be replaced with injury after 30 minutes, Leroy Sané taking over, who gave way to Jamal Musiala midway through the second half. Joshua Kimmich made his comeback when he came on for Tolisso.
Level at half-time
After the hosts congratulated Neuer and Lewandowski on their awards as the world's best goalkeeper and player, it was a midfield struggle devoid of clear-cut chances at first, but Leverkusen soon enjoyed a spell in command. A deflected Nadiem Amiri shot gave notice of their approach before the unmarked Schick put the Rhineland side ahead, volleying home Amiri's cross. Bayern went looking for an equaliser but often gave away possession, and their stray passing spoiled promising moves.
Schick warmed Neuer's gloves, a Lewandowski pass evading Alaba at the other end. Bayer had the ball in the net for a second time, Schick beating Neuer following a Leon Bailey pass, but the linesman's flag was raised for offside. The Bavarians upped the pressure now, Süle firing over and keeper Lukas Hradecky beating Gnabry to a Tolisso cross, but Lewandowski levelled the scores when Jonathan Tah and Hradecky blocked each other, the unmarked striker heading home.
Lewy seals it
Bayern were dominant after the restart but failed to deliver the final pass, Florian Wirtz intercepting Gnabry's pass to Sané. Neuer proved equal to an Amiri effort. Müller and Lewandowski saw shots blocked, Hradecky making a strong save against Gnabry.
Hradecky beat Lewandowski to a pass, Müller firing over before sub Musiala hit the post, but Bayern seized victory when Tah lost possession at the edge of the box, Kimmich setting up Lewandowski, who found the net with the help of a deflection.
The result takes Bayern onto 30 points from 13 matches, two clear of Saturday's rivals during the short winter break. The table-toppers will be back in action on 3 January, when they entertain FSV Mainz.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Hradecky – Dragovic, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven – Wirtz, Baumgartlinger, Amiri – Bailey (Demirbay 74), Schick (Alario 82), Diaby
Lomb – Jedvaj, Wendell, Weiser, Gedikli, Bellarabi, Türkmen
Neuer - Süle, Boateng, Hernández, Davies - Alaba, Tolisso (Kimmich 68) - Coman (Sané 33, Musiala 68), Müller, Gnabry - Lewandowski
Nübel – Pavard, Costa, Choupo-Moting, Roca, Richards
Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
1-0 Schick (14), 1-1 Lewandowski (43), 1-2 Lewandowsi (90+3)
Bailey / Gnabry