There was nothing to choose between Leverkusen and Bayern München as the played out a 0-0 draw at BayArena on Saturday.
Leverkusen 0 Bayern München 0
No goals in the first half
Xabi Alonso sent off
Muller misses two good chances
A highly competitive first half saw no goals, and few clear-cut opportunities, as both sides cancelled each other out in the midfield.
The contest continued in the second half, with defence continuing to win out over attack. For Munich, Arjen Robben was effectively kept under wraps, Robert Lewandowski was uncharacteristically timid, and substitute Thomas Muller missed the two good chances that fell his way.
Bayern midfielder Xabi Alonso then left the pitch a few minutes early after his challenge on Javier Hernandez earned him his second yellow card of the half.
München enjoyed a typically dominant start to the match. but Leverkusen had an early chance of their own when Hakan Calhanoglu’s free kick was headed on target by Omer Toprak, but it was never going to beat Manuel Neuer
Kingsley Coman caused some trouble down the flanks with his pace, easily beating Tin Jedvaj on one occasion but Karim Bellarabi had it covered.
With the half-hour mark approaching Arjen Robben caused the home side some real problems, but the Leverkusen defence were up to the challenge, and an anonymous Robert Lewandowski who was kept under wraps by Jonathan Tah.
Leverkusen had a decent chance with a counterattack on the 20-minute mark, with Calhanoglu charging forward surrounded by Munich defenders. He looked to slip in Javier Hernandez before he was crowded out, but his through ball was misplaced a scooped up by Neuer.
It was Leverkusen who had the last real chance of the first half, with Christoph Kramer finding Javier Hernandez down the flank, but the Mexican’s cross eluded his teammates a few minutes before the first half ended goalless.
Once the second half got going the chances started up again. Hernandez lashed just wide with a half-volley in the 53rd minute before Robben was able to race through midfield towards goal, and Wendell was needed to produce a vital sliding challenge to rob the Dutchman of the ball.
Robben was withdrawn soon afterwards for Thomas Muller, and the German almost made an instant impact when Coman made his way down the flank and cut it back for Muller, who had time and space in the box but his first time effort was ugly and wide of the target. A few minutes later and he missed another good chance, this time receiving the ball from Douglas Costa at the near post, but his shot on the turn was wide again.
Munich could have won it in the final minutes when Tah, who had been solid throughout, slipped at a crucial moment which allowed the ball to fall for Lewandowski, but he flashed his shot wide on the turn.
Then in the 84th minute Munich were reduced to 10 men when Xabi Alonso picked up his second yellow card of the match for a late challenge on Hernandez.