Irresistible Munich overpower Leverkusen

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A ninth successive Bundesliga victory has put Bayern Munich within touching distance of an eighth consecutive title.

They ran out impressive 4-2 winners away to a fifth placed Bayer Leverkusen side whose defence were simply powerless to stop the Bavarian juggernaut.

Despite the absence of star striker Kai Havertz due to ‘muscular problems’, the hosts started much brighter than their illustrious visitors and took the lead in the ninth minute.

Lucas Alario, deputising in the centre forward role, was slipped in down the left channel by Julian Baumgartlinger and slotted past Manuel Neuer at the near post.

The goal was initially disallowed for offside but marginally overruled thanks to a trailing defender’s leg after a relatively fast VAR review.

Alario gives Leverkusen an early lead (credit: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Unsurprisingly Munich picked up after falling behind and nearly equalised after 24 minutes, but Robert Lewandowski couldn’t get enough power into his outstretched boot to redirect a cross beyond Lukas Hradecky in the Bayer goal.

Three minutes later Bayern were level. The home side conceded possession in the centre circle, allowing Leon Goretzka to play Kingsley Coman in behind their defence; he produced an assured finish, whipping into the far post past a helpless Hradecky.

After four cautions in the first 35 minutes, referee Manuel Gräfe proactively had a word with both Hansi Flick and Peter Bosz on the touchline, asking the managers to calm their respective team down.

The Bavarians continued to exploit the hosts’ social distancing at the back and deservedly took the lead three minutes before the break when Goretzka’s effort across goal, from the edge of the box, squirmed into the bottom corner.

Serge Gnabry then had a one on one well saved by Hradecky’s foot on the stroke of half time, but in first half injury time Munich made it 3-1.

In a rare route-one move from the champions-elect, Joshua Kimmich lofted the ball over the top of Leverkusen’s defence and this time Gnabry got his effort in quickly, lobbing the onrushing Finnish goalkeeper.

Kimmich celebrates his assist for Gnabry (22) (credit: Bayern Munich)

Leverkusen boss Bosz’s three changes at the interval made little immediate impact on the momentum of the match, with Munich a constant threat both in possession and on the counter attack.

Müller went close twice, first whipping a shot from distance just wide, before heading a corner too close to the keeper.

Gnabry then struck just over after being set up by a mesmerising run from Coman, before Lewandowski finally got on the scoresheet to make it 4-1 and finally kill off the contest.

Lewandowski gets his goal (credit: Bayern Munich)

The Polish striker’s powerful 66th minute header was his 30th league goal of the season (44 in all competitions), which equals his best Bundesliga campaign for Munich. The cross to assist it was also Müller’s 20th assist of a remarkable year.

At the other end, Leverkusen threatened little in the second half apart from a couple of runs by Moussa Diaby, but the French winger twice shot when he should’ve squared it to a supporting teammate.

They did make the score more respectable in the 89th minute through 17-year-old substitute Florian Wirtz; the young winder chopped inside onto his left foot and curled a neat finish into the far top corner.

But Bayern Munich thoroughly merited their three points and now need a maximum of six more from their remaining four games to complete their march towards the title.

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