Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen played out to a thrilling draw on Friday in Bavaria. Although still early stages of the campaign, the match featured the top two teams in the Bundesliga table. Visiting Leverkusen entered the night ahead of the reigning champions on goal difference. They were the only two German clubs to win all three of their opening league matches of the season.
The fixture also marked the return of former Bayern star Xabi Alonso. The current Leverkusen head coach previously played the final three seasons of his career with the Bavarian giants. He helped the German giants win Bundesliga titles in every season he was with the team.
Hosts grab early lead, but Leverkusen fights back
Bayern jumped ahead to an early lead thanks to a goal from top summer signing Harry Kane. The star striker headed the ball into an open net after his teammates earned a corner kick in the seventh minute. A Leverkusen defender was able to initially win a header of his own in an attempted clearance, but the ball fell straight to Kane at the far post. The England international also just scored for his country during a feisty face-off against Scotland three days prior.
It took a bit of time for the visitors to get into the game. In fact, Bayern dominated the opening 20 minutes of the match. However, Leverkusen eventually leveled the scoreline in the 24th minute from an incredible free-kick goal by Alex Grimaldo. The defender struck a beautiful curling shot over the Bayern wall and into the top corner of the net. It was Grimaldo’s first-ever Bundesliga goal.
The game went into the halftime break level, but there was a plethora of chances by both teams to take the lead. Leverkusen striker Victor Boniface was a handful for the Bayern defense throughout the first half. The forward even put the ball into the net in the 33rd minute, but the score was called back for offside. Bayern then had four or five solid chances right before the break as well. However, Lukas Hradecky made a series of impressive saves to deny the hosts.
The opening period of the second half followed the closing stages of the first. Both teams had chances to score in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but neither could take the lead. Boniface first put an audacious shot narrowly over the bar from the halfway line. Kane then had a glorious chance to put Bayern ahead in the 57th minute, but Hradecky once again closed the door to keep the game level.
Leverkusen and Bayern score late to lock in draw
After a bit of a lull, the game opened up once again with about 10 minutes remaining on the clock. Florian Wirtz first struck the post for Leverkusen in the 78th minute. Boniface then had a grand chance to put the visitors ahead two minutes later. Nevertheless, Sven Ulreich made the save to deny the striker from close range.
Bayern took advantage of Leverkusen’s squandered chances with a goal in the 86th minute. Substitute Mathys Tel played a clever low ball into space inside the opposing box. Leon Goretzka then finished calmly into the open net from short range. It was the German’s first goal for his club since November of 2022.
Nevertheless, Leverkusen was dramatically awarded a penalty kick in stoppage time after a VAR review. The match referee determined that Alphonso Davies brought down Jonas Hofmann inside the Bayern box. Exequiel Palacios stepped up to take the spot kick and placed a shot just by the diving Ulreich to level the scoreline once again. The visitors fought back from behind twice to grab a vital point away to the reigning champions.
PHOTO: IMAGO / kolbert-press
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