Bayer Leverkusen shocked Bayern Munich 2-1 today at the Allianz Arena for their first win in Munich since 1989. If you're not good at math, that was TWENTY THREE years ago.
The Bavarians constantly attacked the Leverkusen goal in the early parts of the match. They nearly jumped out to a lead after only two minutes, but Bastian Schweinsteiger's backheel just missed finding the far corner. Mario Mandzukic brought the first good save out of Bernd Leno with a low header. A minute later, David Alaba missed just wide left with another header.
For all of their dominance in the first half, Bayern would not find the back of the net. This included outshooting Leverkusen 8-1 and 67% of possession. Leverkusen sat back and defended well preventing any truly easy opportunities for Bayern.
Leverkusen would sneak in a goal before the halftime whistle. Gonzalo Castro played a ball up to Simon Rolfes, and he passed it up the flank to Andre Schürrle. He sent in a rather poor cross that Philipp Lahm tried to sweep past his goal instead of clearing. The ball went right to Stefan Kießling for an easy tap in and the lead.
Jupp Heynckes needed to make some changes in the second half and brought on Xherdan Shaqiri for Holger Badstuber and moved David Alaba to left back. Shaqiri immediately added more attacking spark feeding Thomas Müller for a few shots, but he was unable to get his shots past the sliding Leverkusen defenders who blocked both of them. Leverkusen continued playing a suffocating defense
Needing a goal to get back into the match, Heynckes subbed on Arjen Robben and Claudio Pizarro for Luis Gustavo and Schweinsteiger for the old 2-6-2 (shifting to a 2-2-6 at time) formation since Alaba and Lahm were playing so far up the pitch.
It didn't take long for Bayern to find their equalizer. Pizarro received a pass in the box before beating his man and crossing the ball in to Mandzukic. The Croatian headed the ball past Leno for the goal, and Bayern were back in business.
Bayern continued to throw numbers forward in attack, but they struggled to beat Leverkusen's defense. With so many players thrown forward, Bayern found themselves vulnerable on the break. This proved to be the Bavarians undoing. Leverkusen broke quickly, and Daniel Carvajal's cross found the head of Sidney Sam. The header struck Jerome Boateng's face before wrong-footing Manuel Neuer for the goal in the 87th minute.
Leverkusen packed the penalty area for the remaining time as Bayern played with everyone in the attacking half of the field. "Everyone" includes Neuer who even found himself dribbling into the Leverkusen penalty area at one point in the waning minutes. He passed the ball over to Boateng who crossed it to Pizarro. The Peruvian got his head on it, but the ball struck the crossbar before going over the goal. The referee blew the final whistle to the relief of the Leverkusen players.
While Bayern will rue the many poor crosses that lead to easy clearances for the defenders, you must give a lot of credit to Leverkusen defenders who played very well on the day. Philipp Wollscheid and Ömer Toprak in particular were excellent.
Bayern will remain in first place, but their lead over second place Schalke is now only four points. The victory sees Leverkusen all the way into fifth place on fifteen points.