Exequiel Palacios scored twice from the penalty spot in the second half as Bayer Leverkusen came back from behind to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 at the Bay Arena on Sunday evening.
The result is a huge blow to the reigning Champions, now second to Borussia Dortmund in the standings with nine games left.
Leverkusen were the better of the two sides in the first half as they kept their opponents at bay with stoic defending and getting bodies behind the ball while maintaining shape when not in possession.
Xabi Alonso’s men were first to most of the second balls, disrupting Bayern’s rhythm and not allowing Munich to carve out any threats.
Bayern take the lead against the run of play
Bayern, however, took the lead in the 22nd minute when Joshua Kimmich finished with aplomb from inside the box following Joao Cancel’s cross from the right wing.
Leon Goretzka brought down the ball before laying off to Kimmich, who slotted home much against the run of play to give Bayern the getaway goal.
Leverkusen didn’t let their heads drop despite the setback as they played with great determination, making it tough for Bayern to grab a hold of the game.
Julian Nagelsmann brought on Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala, and Serge Gnabry to improve his side in the second half.
Leverkusen complete second-half comeback
However, it was Leverkusen who carved the better chances of the half.
Minutes after the restart, French winger Amine Adli was brought down in the box with the referee booking the player for simulation.
However, VAR intervened, showing it was a clear foul, and the referee reversed his decision to award a spot kick to the hosts.
Palacios stepped up to send Yann Sommer the wrong way to retore parity, one that was well deserved for the home side. Interestingly, 20 minutes later, Adli was again brought down inside the penalty area and again booked for simulation.
Just like before, VAR intervened, and the referee gave a penalty.
Palacios stepped up again and converted for the second time to give his side a 2-1 lead. Bayern threw numbers late on, but Lukas Hradecky made a string of great saves to deny Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Alphonso Davies as Leverkusen held on for a famous win.
The result means that Dortmund top the standings with 53 points from 25 games, a point ahead of Bayern going into the international break.
It will be interesting to see if Dortmund can secure the title from Bayern, who have won the Bundesliga for ten consecutive seasons.
Photo Credit: Imago / kolbert-press
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