Bayern back on top in Germany with late winner at Leverkusen

AP , Saturday 19 Dec 2020

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (L) celebrates after scoring the 1-1 during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich (AFP)

A last-minute goal by Robert Lewandowski took Bayern Munich back to the top of the Bundesliga after beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on Saturday.

Two days after being crowned as FIFA's best male player, Lewandowski made the difference against Leverkusen with one goal to level the score and the winner in the final seconds of added time.

Neither goal was highlight-reel material _ opposition blunders played essential roles _ but it was enough to overhaul Leverkusen, which had gone unbeaten as it emerged as the surprise league leader.

The win was testament to Bayern's ability to play its way out of trouble. It was the seventh Bundesliga game in a row in which the German champion has come back to earn points after conceding the opening goal. Bayern went two points clear of Leverkusen and Leipzig at the top.

Leverkusen took the lead with a moment of genius, and gave it away with a moment of confusion.

Patrik Schick opened the scoring in style, floating at the edge of the box at a corner and then meeting Nadiem Amiri's cross with an unstoppable volley into the top corner.

Leverkusen gave Bayern a helping hand just before halftime when goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky collided with defender Jonathan Tah and they both watched Thomas Muller's cross float over the heads for the unmarked Lewandowski to head into an empty net.

Bayern dominated the second half, but couldn't finish chances, with Hradecky tipping a Serge Gnabry shot just wide and 17-year-old substitute Jamal Musiala cracking a shot against the post. Lewandowski changed all that in added time when Leverkusen defender Tah lost the ball with a poor first touch, leaving space for Lewandowski to hit a shot which deflected off Edmond Tapsoba and over the diving Hradecky.

Sent off for spitting

Borussia Monchengladbach striker Marcus Thuram was sent off for spitting in the face of an opponent and his side went on to lose to Hoffenheim 2-1.

Thuram spat in Hoffenheim defender Stefan Posch's face in the 77th minute after a disagreement between them. Referee Frank Willenborg received a signal to consult video and showed the French player the red card. The score was 1-1.

``It's a shame for the team and a shame for him,'' Gladbach teammate Valentino Lazaro said. ``It doesn't fit with his character at all.''

Midfielder Christoph Kramer showed less understanding for Thuram, the son of World Cup-winning defender Lilian Thuram.

``His fuses blew. That should of course never happen to him. You can't excuse it,'' Kramer said.

Gladbach coach Marco Rose apologized ``on behalf of the whole club'' and added, ``It simply doesn't belong on a football pitch. It goes way beyond the limits.''

Posch was booked for his part in the altercation and subsequently substituted for Kevin Akpoguma, who set up on-loan Tottenham left-back Ryan Sessegnon for Hoffenheim's winner from close range in the 86th.

Lars Stindl's penalty gave Gladbach a 34th-minute lead, but Andrej Kramaric equalized in the 75th and Sessegnon's late winner stretched Gladbach's winless run to six games across all competitions.

Schalke misery continues 

Even a change of coach did little to help Schalke snap its long run without a win. Fabian Klos scored early in the second half for relegation rival Arminia Bielefeld to beat interim coach Huub Stevens' team 1-0.

Stevens replaced the fired Manuel Baum on Friday for the game against Bielefeld and cup game against Ulm on Tuesday before Schalke finds a permanent replacement for the new year. Its winless run in the Bundesliga is at 29 games and closing in on Tasmania Berlin's league record of 31 straight games without a victory from the 1965-66 season.

Also, Cologne and Leipzig finished 0-0. Eren Dinkci scored in the last minute for Werder Bremen to win at Mainz 1-0, and Eintracht Frankfurt won at Augsburg 2-0.

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