Bayern extend lead with Leverkusen win

James Rodriguez Bayern

Bundesliga leaders FC Bayern München beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1 at the BayArena on Friday night, although they did not have things all their own way.

Leverkusen 1 Bayern 3
Martinez opens scoring
Ribéry adds a second
Volland pulls one back
Rodríguez slams home late free-kick

Match summary

It was an entertaining opening half with the visitors enjoying the better of the chances. Javi Martinez handed Bayern the lead after poor defending by the hosts just after the half-an-hour mark.

Leon Bailey hit the bar after the break before Franck Ribéry made it 2-0. But Leverkusen managed to respond through Kevin Volland’s deflected strike in the 70th minute. However, James Rodríguez sealed the victory with a stunning free-kick in injury time. The result sees the German giants extend their lead to 14 points in the Bundesliga.

Match report

The game was played at a frenetic pace in the opening 20 minutes and the visitors came close to taking the advantage when Arjen Robben beat Jonathan Tah on the wing, before crossing to Ribéry who saw his strike on goal superbly blocked by Karim Bellarabi in the fifth minute.

In the 17th minute, a fine strike from Arturo Vidal from a tight angle forced Bernd Leno to turn the ball behind for a corner.

It was action-packed stuff and not long after Rodríguez sent a swerving volley just wide from around 20-yards.

Bayern hit the front in the 32nd minute through some sloppy defending from the hosts. After a ball was failed to be cleared from a corner, Vidal’s header reached Martinez who steered the ball into the top corner to record his first goal of the campaign.

It quietened down until half-time, but after the break Bailey nearly sent the home supporters into raptures when he dribbled beyond his marker, turned into space and sent a sublime strike over Sven Ulreich, but unfortunately the dipping effort hit the crossbar.

Moments later the home team were made to pay the price for the near miss as Ribéry was picked out on the wing by James. The veteran winger beat Tah inside before guiding a sublime finish beyond Leno.

The second goal seemed to take the fizz out of the game, although from virtually out of nowhere Leverkusen hit back with 20 minutes to go. Kai Havertz played a simple ball to Volland in a more central position, and he hit a strike which took a wicked deflection and went beyond Ulreich and into the back of the net.

Lucas Alario was inches away soon after when the Argentina striker saw his shot go narrowly wide of the top corner from outside the area, but the Bavarians had the last laugh when Rodríguez sent a stunning curling effort into the top corner from a free-kick, after he’d been fouled by Lars Bender outside the area.