SUMMARY: CHANCES BY THE MINUTE
Bayern Munich were clearly on top in the first half hour and they took the lead through Leverkusen mistakes from a corner with Niklas Süle finding the back of the net (18') and that did reflect the game at that point. The Werkself responded with an equaliser, the ball turned into his own net by Thomas Müller from a Kerem Demirbay free kick (36') and the game was turned on its head. Up to half-time, it was the visitors who had chances by the minute and could have taken the lead with a shot against the post from Amine Adli, another great chance for the Frenchman as well as a cast-iron opportunity for Charles Aránguiz. In the second half, Bayer 04 banded together allowing the hosts few opportunities. And near the end of the game, Jeremie Frimpong, who has been called up for the first time to the preliminary senior squad for the Netherlands matches against Denmark (26.3.) and Germany (29.3.), also had the last chance to score. HERE is the match report.
REACTION: "GROWN AND MATURED"
One point gained or two dropped? Not easy to answer from a Leverkusen perspective after the top of the table game in Munich. "I think it's a mix of the two," said Kerem Demirbay, "if we take our chances then we win the game – above all because we were very good in defence. Even though you obviously can't prevent everything playing against an opponent with such incredible quality. But you could see that we've grown and matured." The captain Lukas Hradecky took a similar view: "Basically, you can't be unhappy to get a draw in Munich although we were the team that had the better chances in the end. Bayern dominated and had more possession but the lads threw themselves into every challenge and deservedly picked up the point." Gerardo Seoane talked about "a poor first 30 minutes because we needed time to get used to our new system." The coach did however convey "a compliment to the team. Unfortunately, we weren't effective enough to score the second goal." Sporting managing director Rudi Völler said he could "wonderfully live with the point."
PERSONNEL: ONE DEBUT AND ONE COMEBACK
Amine Adli could have been the Man of the Match if he'd have had more luck and calm with his finishing. The 21-year-old Frenchman was through on Sven Ulreich three times: The first time, he put the ball past the far post (8'), with the second he had already rounded the Bayern keeper but ended up hitting the post instead of the empty net from a tight angle (42'), before finally – put through by Kerem Demirbay – lacked precision with his curled effort (43'). Otherwise, two other players were centre stage although they did not or scarcely made it onto the pitch. The Iranian Sardar Azmoun, signed from Zenit St Petersburg in the winter transfer window, came off the bench late-on to make his Bundesliga debut. Julian Baumgartlinger watched the whole game from the bench – which was a positive for the 34-year-old after his cruciate injury as he was back in the squad for the first time since matchday two in August of last year.
STATS: BAYERN DOMINANCE
Numbers don't always tell the whole story. For example, the match stats in the category of shots on goal show a clear superiority for the Munich team of 19 to 9 but Leverkusen were clearly on top in terms of clear chances. There was no doubt about the dominance of Bayern in other areas who had their noses in front in terms of possession (69 to 31%), as well as challenges (56 to 44%) and pass completion (88 to 74%). Bayern Munich had somebody at the game who played 04 years for the Werkself (113 appearances between 1998 and 2002) as well as for the record champions (110 games between 2002 and 2006): Ze Roberto was a guest at the Allianz Arena and he predicted the hosts would win 3-1.
WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: "VERY CLOSE TO A WIN"
In addition to the football, the media also mentioned the solidarity shown by both teams and fans towards Ukraine. "Ahead of kick-off, there was a banner on the halfway line that read 'End the war!' And the match officials also wore blue and yellow armbands,' reports the Welt am Sonntag. In their assessment of the result, the Bild am Sonntag takes the following position: "Bayern lose 1-1, Leverkusen win 1-1." The Cologne-based Express saw "Leverkusen coming very close to winning in Munich." The online edition of the Rheinische Post believes "Bayer can definitely live with the point more than Bayern." The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger awards high marks to three Bayer 04 players: Jonathan Tah ("solid in the air and on the deck" plus Edmond Tapsoba and Charles Aránguiz ("both made a lot of clearances").
OUTLOOK: FIRST ATALANTA, THEN THE DERBY
Bayer 04 have two highly interesting duels coming up. The Werkself are away in the Europa League on Thursday 10 March when they visit Atalanta with the Round of 16 first leg kicking off at 21.00 CET and three days later there is a very special game in the Bundesliga: Leverkusen entertain FC Köln in the derby at the BayArena on Sunday 13 March at 15.30 CET.
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