A late own goal by Philipp Wollscheid condemned Bayer Leverkusen to defeat as Bayern Munich achieved a record 12th away win with a 2-1 victory at the BayArena.
Munich did take the lead after 37 minutes thanks to a smart finish from Mario Gomez, but were pegged back when Simon Rolfes tapped in a second half equaliser.
It looked destined to be a frustrating draw for the runaway Bundesliga leaders but Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free-kick took a cruel deflection off of Wollscheid and looped onto the top corner, sealing victory for the Bavarians.
It was much-changed side from the loss to Arsenal on Wednesday, but Bayern still started stronger. Schweinsteiger pulled a shot wide from 20 yards before flicking Arjen Robben’s volley just past the post with a backheel. Just after, Bayern were denied by a brilliant piece of defending.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s outswinging corner was met by the rising Jerome Boateng, and the former Manchester City defender’s goalbound header had to be cleared off the line by Dani Carvajal. The Bayern pressure continued as Robben blazed wildly over from a good position.
Up the other end, Leverkusen forced the first real save of the game as Sebastian Boenisch’s long-range strike was pushed around the post by Germany international Manuel Neuer. It triggered a response as Bayern soon took the lead.
Gomez hasn’t had many chances to start a game this season, but took his chance in this game with a stunning goal. The striker went on a mazy run from the half-way line, going past two defenders before expertly sliding the ball into the bottom corner from ten yards out. It was his seventh goal of the season and was a piece of magic.
After half-time, Bayern continued to show their class. Shaqiri fired over from a clever cut-back from Robben when he should have been finding the net and Leverkusen would soon capitalise on that miss.
Stefan Kiebling volleyed over from 25 yards before the home side grabbed a shocking equaliser. A corner from Sven Bender was flicked on at the near post by Kiebling, and found the unmarked Rolfes who gladly tapped in to make it 1-1.
Just two minutes after the goal, Bayern should have been back in front. Claudio Pizarro came on as a substitute and the Peruvian’s smart turn in the penalty area made the space for him to strike at goal, but he pulled the ball wide from 15 yards in a wasted opportunity.
It would not matter though as Bayern nicked it in the most dramatic of fashion. Schweinsteiger’s free-kick didn’t look dangerous but had enough pace on it that any deflection would cause a problem, and that’s exactly what happened. The ball hit Wollscheid and flew into the corner, leaving the goalkeeper stranded and Munich jubilant.
The win ended any faint hopes for Leverkusen in the title arce and maintained Bayern’s 20 point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Kyle Dixon