Leverkusen 2-1 Bayern Munich: Champions slip up after two VAR penalties
Bayern Munich missed the chance to return to the top of the Bundesliga after they were sunk by two VAR-assisted penalties in a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Joshua Kimmich’s first-half strike had given the champions the lead at BayArena, putting them back on course for the summit heading into the international break.
But a pair of spot-kicks in the second half from Exequiel Palacios instead sealed a deserved comeback for the hosts, who often looked more threatening.
It means Julian Nagelsmann’s side lie second behind Borussia Dortmund heading into the pair’s table-topping Klassiker at the start of April.
Having been leapfrogged by their rivals on Saturday, Bayern knew they needed a result on the road to retake top spot.
After withstanding early Leverkusen pressure, they set about finding it amid torrential rain, with Kimmich drilling a close-range finish home in the 22nd minute, aided by a kind deflection.
For the rest of the first half, however, it was Bayern who appeared to be more on the back foot, Leverkusen creating a flurry of chances, led by Moussa Diaby.
The hosts remained on top following the restart and were rewarded with a penalty after Benjamin Pavard stepped on Amine Adli’s heel.
Palacios converted powerfully to equalise in the 55th minute and stepped up again 18 minutes later when Adli was caught once more by Dayot Upamecano.
The Argentinian again made no mistake to put Leverkusen into a worthy lead, and from there they clung on for a crucial victory that dealt Bayern’s title defence a serious blow.
What does it mean? Bayern slip up
After Dortmund moved top following victory on Saturday, the title holders knew a draw would still be enough to put them ahead on goal difference heading into the international break.
Instead, they failed to fire on the road and now will head into their face-off with BVB knowing a defeat would leave them four points off the summit.
Gnabry fails to build on first-half advantage
Introduced at half-time as part of a raft of changes, Serge Gnabry recorded two shots on target, the best of any player in his team.
But with Bayern on the back foot, he could not find a way through and was unable to snatch a crucial point as the game weaved into its final stages.
Bayern did register six shots on target from 11 attempts, but the man between the posts proved a worthy opponent.
Lukas Hradecky managed five saves, proving to be the difference-maker when it came to claiming three points.
Bayern host Dortmund on April 1, while Leverkusen travel to face Schalke on the same day.
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