Bayer Leverkusen dominated Bayern Munich at home on Saturday in one of the most anticipated soccer matches of the weekend. The hosts entered the weekend leading the Bundesliga standings by just two points over the German giants.

Die Werkself has surprised many in the sport by topping the table this late in the current campaign. Nevertheless, Xabi Alonso’s club has had an incredible season so far and has even not lost a single match on the season. This includes 20 total league matchups and 10 other fixtures.

The start of the much-anticipated matchup between the top two German teams was delayed due to fan protests. Supporters inside the stadium threw candy onto the pitch in response to recent news regarding broadcasting rights. The match was initially scheduled to start at 12:30 PM (ET) but did not officially begin until eight minutes later.

Hosts take the lead after a slow start to the match

The fan protests seemed to affect the two teams at the start of the game. After the match finally kicked off, the sides could not put together any real dangerous offensive chances. In fact, the first shot in the fixture came in the 11th minute when Amine Adli sent a tame strike towards Bayern’s Manuel Neuer.

However, the hosts finally took the lead in the 19th minute through an unlikely source. Leverkusen started the move with a throw-in deep into Bayern territory. Robert Andrich collected the pass and sent a low cross into the area. The ball initially went through Dayot Upamecano’s legs and all the way to Josip Stanisic.

Finding himself free on goal, the defender finished the play with an emphatic strike. Oddly enough, Stanisic is actually on loan at Leverkusen from Bayern. In an unusual move, the young Croatian was permitted to face his parent club. The goal was Stanisic’s first score since netting for Bayern on the final matchday of the 2021/22 campaign.

Leverkusen eventually took the narrow 1-0 lead into the halftime break. The hosts did have multiple solid scoring chances to extend their lead in the opening period. Nevertheless, Upamecano and Neuer both stepped up to make big blocks in the latter stages of the half.

Bayern, on the other hand, only managed to record one shot on target in the first frame. Star striker Harry Kane also touched the ball just seven times and had zero shot attempts during this timeframe. No other player on the pitch recorded fewer touches than the English forward.

Leverkusen adds two more goals in dominating performance

The second half started much like the first ended. Leverkusen quickly doubled their advantage in the 50th minute with a goal from another defender. Alex Grimaldo initially fed attacker Nathan Tella on the break. The midfielder then placed a perfect pass back to his teammate inside the Bayern box. Grimaldo collected the ball and sent a powerful shot beyond Neuer and into the roof of the net.

The second Leverkusen goal seemed to settle the game quite a bit. Following the fantastic strike, neither side could create many more opportunities. Although, the hosts were happy to defend the two-goal lead. Leverkusen’s defense essentially stifled mighty Bayern throughout the night. In fact, the reigning champions failed to record a shot on target in the second half.

Leverkusen did, however, grab another goal deep into stoppage time. Substitute Jeremie Frimpong sent a long-range shot into Bayern’s empty need after Neuer went up to attack a corner kick at the other end. All three goals in the game by the hosts were scored by defenders.

The commanding victory opens a five-point lead atop the Bundesliga table for Leverkusen. Bayern will next turn their attention to the Champions League by facing Lazio on Valentine’s Day. Leverkusen, on the other hand, is set to continue their domestic run against Heidenheim next weekend.

Photo: IMAGO / Sven Simon