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Thiago and Mats head in

Reds return to winning ways

One day after the Annual General Meeting and the return of Uli Hoeneß as president, Bayern won Saturday's top Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen 2-1. Thiago's goal was cancelled out by Leverkusen's Hakan Calhanoglu in the first half, but Mats Hummels' 56th-minute header sealed the victory for the German record champions after two defeats in a row.

The home team started with Manuel Neuer between the sticks behind a back four of Joshua Kimmich, Javi Martínez, Hummels and David Alaba. Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso and Thiago took up station in midfield, with Thomas Müller and Douglas Costa out wide and Robert Lewandowski up front. Arjen Robben came on for Müller midway through the second half, Franck Ribéry and Arturo Vidal replaced Costa and Lahm late into the contest.

Carlo Ancelotti made no fewer than seven changes to the team that faced Rostov in the Champions League on Wednesday, the only survivors being Thiago, Lewandowski, Costa and Lahm, who as in Rostov featured in midfield after years of serving as a right-back.

After observing a minute's silence for former Bayern captain Adi Kunstwadl the 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw both sides signal their intent from the off. Bayern had more possession, but the visitors made a real fist of it, deploying gegenpressing and going for the one-on-ones with determination.

Leverkusen had the first chance, Mehmedi's effort from 18 yards skidding just wide. The German record champions tried to overcome Leverkusen's defence with positional flexibility, the wing-backs featuring up front and switching to the centre, with Lewandowski dropping closer to midfield at times. If was first and foremost the hosts' left wing where Bayern's attacks began, with Alaba and Costa particularly industrious.

It paid off on the half-hour, when Lahm forced a save from visiting netminder Bernd Leno and Thiago connected with the rebound, heading in from point-blank range. But the Rhineland outfit responded almost immediately, cutting through Bayern's defence with a simple give-and-go before Calhanoglu beat Neuer.

Hummels seals victory

The match followed a similar course after half-time, the niggle factor slowly rising with the scores level. It was centre-back Hummels who soothed the crowds' nerves, the former Dortmund man rising to connect with a Kimmich corner and heading in ten minutes into the second period.

Leverkusen were more active looking to level the scores again, but it was not until the closing stages that they had presentable opportunities, Kampl and Volland missing chances. The German record champions gave away a free-kick 25 yards from goal in injury time. Up stepped Bayer's notorious Calhanoglu, but Neuer proved equal to his effort, saving three crucial points for Ancelotti's side.

The result means Bayern lie second in the Bundesliga table on 27 points from 12 matches, three short of RB Leipzig. The Reds will be back in action next Friday, when they travel to face FSV Mainz in the Bundesliga.

Live match report for fcbayern.com by Gregor Salmen

FC Bayern - Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 (H-T: 1-1)

 
FC Bayern
  Neuer - Kimmich, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba - Lahm (Vidal 82), Alonso, Thiago - Müller (Robben 65), Lewandowski, Costa (Ribéry 74)
Subs Ulreich - Rafinha, Bernat, Sanches
Bayer Leverkusen

Leno - Henrichs, Tah, Dragovic, Wendell - Kampl, Aranguiz - Havertz, Calhanonglu - Brandt (Volland 59), Mehmedi (Chicharito 59)

Subs

Özcan - Baumgartlinger, Jedvaj, Da Costa

Referee Marco Fritz (Korb)
Attendance 75,000 (capacity)
Goals 1-0 Thiago (30), 1-1 Calhanoglu (35), 2-1 Hummels (56)
Yellow cards

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