Berlin, June 7 (IANS) Bayern Munich’s relentless march towards their eighth straight Bundesliga title continued on Saturday, after they bounced back from conceding an early goal to defeat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2.
Leverkusen looked lively on home soil and broke the deadlock with their first chance when Lucas Alario slotted home Julian Baumgartlinger’s through-ball in the ninth minute.
Bayern needed some time to recover from the early setback, but with 27 minutes played Kingsley Coman made the most of Leon Goretzka’s deep pass and beat Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky with a well-placed shot into the bottom corner to restore parity.
The German record champions gained momentum and completed their comeback in the 42nd minute when Goretzka finished off a fast break with a low shot from 18 meters.
Moments later, Serge Gnabry made it 3-1, lobbing Hradecky after receiving Joshua Kimmich’s long pass.
After the break, Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz rang the changes and used all three substitutes.
The hosts tried to make an impression, but for all that Bayern focused on fast breaks and caught the Werkself flat-footed once again, as Thomas Muller’s 20th assist of the season allowed Robert Lewandowski to score his 30th goal of the season in the 66th minute.
Even though all three points were now in Bayern’s hands, Leverkusen were able to score a second goal in the closing period as substitute Florian Wirtz reduced the arrears to 4-2 and became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer at 17 years and 34 days.
“We made too many mistakes today. You won’t win a match against Bayern by committing so many mistakes. You also should not concede two goals in the dying seconds of the first half. Bayern took all three points deservedly,” rued Bosz afterwards, according to Xinhua news agency.
“Leverkusen is an offensively-minded squad. We needed some time to gain a foothold into the match but the opener was a wake-up call for us. It shows the mentality of my team that they turned things around,” said Bayern head coach Hansi Flick.
With the win, leaders Bayern Munich extend their advantage atop the standings to ten points, while Leverkusen stay in fifth place.
Elsewhere, Christian Strohdiek’s late equalizer helped bottom side Paderborn snatch a point from ten-men Leipzig following a 1-1 draw.
Mainz returned to winning ways after beating rivals Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 thanks to goals from Moussa Niakhate and Kunde Malong, while ten-men Hoffenheim played out a 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf.