FC Bayern beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. Wendell put Leverkusen in front early in the contest, but Corentin Tolisso soon levelled the scores, Arjen Robben handing Bayern the deserved lead midway through the first half. James put the game to bed in the closing stages.
Concern for Tolisso and Rafinha
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng and Rafinha in a back four. Thiago anchored a midfield featuring Robben, Thomas Müller, Tolisso and Serge Gnabry, with Robert Lewandowski as lone striker.
Tolisso had to be replaced with a knee injury before half-time, James taking over. Javi Martínez came on for Gnabry on the hour, whereas Rafinha had to be replaced by David Alaba after a brutal foul by Karim Bellarabi.
Two wonder goals to turn the tide
The 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw a highly entertaining first half with Bayern in the driving seat, but the home fans were in for an early shock. Thiago handled in the box, Neuer saving Kevin Volland's penalty, but it had to be retaken as some players had entered the box too early. Wendell then buried from the spot.
Bayern upped the ante and soon levelled the scores, Tolisso blasting into the top corner of the net from 12 yards. Ten minutes later Robben got hold of the ball after a poor Jonathan Tah clearance, the Dutchman unleashing a sumptuous 20-yarder that screamed its way into the far corner of the net. The hosts were in control against the increasingly reeling Rhineland side, netminder Lukas Hradecky denying Müller before Robben miscued an effort.
Slow-burning second half
Bayern eased off after the interval, with the visitors still looking to contain their opponents. Hradecky proved equal to a Gnabry header, Robben seeing an effort go wide and another one saved.
Sub James settled the issue in the closing stages, the very industrious Thiago inviting the Colombian to convert a brilliant cross. James almost bagged a brace, but this time his header was ruled out for offside, and match official Tobias Welz blew for full-time.
The victory means the Bavarians retain top spot in the embryonic league table. Bayern will be back in action in four days, when they travel to face Benfica in the Champions League before taking on Schalke in the Bundesliga next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 (HT: 2-1)
Neuer – Kimmich, Süle, Boateng, Rafinha (Alaba 83) – Thiago – Robben, Müller, Tolisso (James 42), Gnabry (Martínez 59) – Lewandowski
Ulreich - Sanches, Ribéry, Wagner
Hradecky – Dragovic, Tah, S. Bender – Jedvaj, Kohr, L. Bender (Brandt 28), Havertz, Wendell – Bailey (Paulinho 83), Volland (Bellarabi 73)
Özcan – Thelin, Alario, Weiser
Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden)
0-1 Wendell (5, pen), 1-1 Tolisso (10), 2-1 Robben (19), 3-1 James (89)
- / Wendell
- / Bellarabi