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March 15, 2014
• 1:30 PM
• Allianz Arena, München
Referee: M. Schmidt
• Attendance: 71000
M. Mandžukić 44'
B. Schweinsteiger 52'
S. Kießling 90'+
That wraps up Bayern's 50th consecutive unbeaten game in the top flight, and what a comfortable way to do it, while resting plenty of key players. That's all that we have time for from the Allianz Arena, as Bayern ran out as 2-1 winners over third-placed Leverkusen, I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you again next time.
FULL TIME! Another victory for Bayern, who can still mathematically win the title in late March, courtesy of goals from Mandzukic and Schweinsteiger! Kiessling grabbed a late consolation goal, but the hosts strolled through that game, despite Leverkusen having a couple of golden first half opportunities.
90' + 1'
Assist Roberto Hilbert
90' + 1'
Goal Stefan Kießling
GOOOOOOAL! KIESSLING GETS A CONSOLATION GOAL! The home side switch off, and I don't think that Guardiola will be too happy! Hilbert whips in the cross, and Kiessling dominates Rafinha in the air to nod the ball into the far corner.
Thiago and Boateng both make late clearance to deny balls pumped into the box from Leverkusen, and Bayern look to be heading towards another easy victory. There will be one minute of stoppage time.
Leverkusen manage to press upfield for some shortlived possession in the final few minutes. Castro fires an effort at Neuer's goal optimistically from 30 yards, and it takes a small deflection on it's way into the crowd. The visitors have a late corner.
Great double save! Leno is at his best to turn away a fierce near post effort from Ribery, before sprawling to his left to kick away the follow-up from Muller! He's definitely staking a claim to become Germany's third choice goalkeeper for Brazil!
Yellow Card Lars Bender
Five minutes left to play, and there won't be much stoppage time, as referee's tend to have mercy on the opponents of Bayern. Castro whips in a corner for Leverkusen, but Neuer is quick off his line to claim and start a counter attack. Ribery looks to be through on goal, but Bender hauls him to the ground, earning himself a booking.
MULLER! Shaqiri clips a ball to the back post, inviting Muller to attack it, but the Germany international can't rise as high as Boenisch, who nods clear. Leverkusen continue to be hopeless in possession, they've barely strung more than two passes together since the restart.
SHAQIRI! The substitute takes this dead ball, but cannons his strike into the top of the wall, unable to recreate the wonderful finish from Schweinsteiger earlier on. Bayern continue to press and probe.
Yellow Card Emir Spahic
Bayern earn themselves another free-kick on the edge of the visitors' box, and the referee again takes his time to ensure that the wall and the Leverkusen defenders are obeying his orders.
Heading into the final ten minutes, Bayern have nothing to fear from this Leverkusen side. Guardiola can make his changes at his leisure, and Die Roten are holding onto the ball imperiously. There is almost literally nothing the away side can do.
Yellow Card Rafinha
Leverkusen are looking devoid of any kind of fight or inspiration, which is a real shame for their travelling support. The away side look resigned to their fate, and haven't trouble Neuer in the slightest this half. Can is brought down by Rafinha, as the former Bayern midfielder looked to break forward, and earns himself a yellow card for his trouble.
A quarter of an hour left, and Mandzukic takes his leave, after a brilliant shift. He works incredibly hard for the Bayern team, and it would be of real detriment to the Bavarian giants if he left in the summer as Lewandowski arrives. Gotze might be deployed in the false nine role as a result for the remaining minutes.
Another Bayern player is readying himself for action, and this time it is Xherdan Shaqiri. The quality players keep streaming off the hosts' bench, and it might be a case of replacing Gotze, who has featured a lot recently. Now that the result seems safe, it's a case of Guardiola rotating his squad to keep everyone as fresh as possible.
Contento threatens in the Leverkusen penalty area once again, but Wollscheid manages to get a foot in to clear all the way to Neuer. Kroos tries his luck from 25 yards, but Leno is equal to the effort, pushing it around the post - and looks to have somehow injured himself in the process.
Diego Contento has a feeble attempt from the edge of the box, but the German left-back can't wrap his foot around the half-volley, skewing the ball well wide of the target. A third goal would really secure this result, and Guardiola's men are certainly pressing for it.
It's Robben that is replaced, and the Dutchman was the likely player to be pulled off, given the amount of high intensity games he's played in recently. It must be said, despite Guardiola's rotation, Bayern's back four has stood up to Leverkusen's tests, despite the visitors' lack of finishing touch getting the Bavarian hosts out of jail.
After an extended period getting ready, Ribery looks ready to take to the field, as Leverkusen collectively sigh together at the prospect of facing one of the world's best players. Leverkusen just can't play their way out of trouble, Die Roten's pressing is forcing constant errors.
Under half an hour to go, and Leverkusen are offering nothing in the way of threats. Bayern are pressing effectively, forcing the visitors to hoof the ball long, which the hosts collect and then attack with once again. This hasn't been a classic Bayern showing, but they're certainly efficient.
Son somehow manages to lose possession inside his own penalty area, the South Korean midfielder has been absolutely woeful today, looking like a shell of the player we know since his first half miss. Ribery will indeed be getting involved, as the Bavarian steamroller looks to gain even more momentum.
Half an hour left to play, and Guardiola may just be thinking of introducing a few of his big guns. The Bayern defence looks like a war machine, with star-studded replacements ready in waiting. Ribery looks to be stripping off to take his place on the field.
Leverkusen just can't break out of their own half for any extended period of time, but Hilbert tries to sally forth. He's quickly stopped in his tracks by an excellent recovering tackle from Mandzukic, who is more than prepared to work for his team, he shows that attribute for Croatia regularly.
Yellow Card G. Castro
Bayern's control over this game continues, and with Schweinsteiger's goal, that should be the result wrapped up. Guardiola's men are well on their way to their 50th straight unbeaten top flight game, and they've got plenty on the bench in reserve too, should things go amiss.
GOTZE! The former Dortmund man drives down the right flank, pushing into the penalty area, but Boenisch slides in to put in a good block, preventing Gotze's near post drive from hitting the target. Bayern take the corner short, patiently keeping hold of the ball.
ROLFES! The Leverkusen captain can't believe his luck, as a Mandzukic defensive header falls to his feet ten yards from goal, but he snatches at the first-time effort. His volley is always rising, and he looks extremely disappointed with himself.
Goal Bastian Schweinsteiger
GOOOOOAL! SCHWEINSTEIGER CURLS HOME A WONDERFUL FREE-KICK! What a finish from the Germany international, he curls the ball into the top corner, and there was nothing that Leno could do about that. He swipes his hand in frustrations. Bayern are two goals to the good!
Bayern win a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, and Robben stands over it intently. There is a long break in play, as the referee sorts out the wall and ensures it can be taken properly.
Bayern have started this half like they ended the last, keeping plenty of possession and forcing Leverkusen back to marshalling the edge of their penalty area. However, if the visitors can turn defence to attack in two or less passes, there's potential for Boateng and Van Buyten to be caught out and outpaced.
If Bayern navigate this second half without succumbing to defeat, the hosts will break Arsenal's record for the longest unbeaten run in a top flight, with a win or draw tonight being their 50th fixture without a loss. Quite an achievement for quite a team.
We are back underway for the second half! Bayern are perhaps fortunate to be ahead at the opening of the second period of 45 minutes, given a golden chance for Son and an incorrect offside decision given against Kiessling, but it's still business as usual for Die Roten.
Be sure to join us again in ten minutes time, as we move into the second half, with Bayern still having a bit of work to do to wrap up this game. Leverkusen may feel as though their best chances have already been wasted, but this evening's visitors did manage a 1-1 draw against Die Roten earlier in this Bundesliga campaign.
Bayern may have not been at their best, due to the rotation in the wake of the Champions League, but there is an inevitability of them scoring under Guardiola. They've laboured and looked low on ideas at times, with Robben and Gotze being the only real catalysts, and yet they look to be grinding out yet another win.
Leverkusen will be wondering about what could have been, after Son spurned a great chance to give the visitors a vital lead and Rolfes saw a thunderbolt saved well by Neuer. They've had their opportunities and this is exactly what happens when you don't take them against a European powerhouse like Bayern.
HALF TIME! The referee calls time on the first half, while Mandzukic is in a heap on the floor, holding the base of his back. Leverkusen has been resilient, with Leno looking solid, but a sucker-punch a minute before half-time by Mandzukic has given Die Roten a deserved lead.
Assist Bastian Schweinsteiger
Goal Mario Mandzukic
Though Bayern continue to look uninspiring in front of goal, but there is a sense of inevitability, that they will find the net at some point... and there it is! GOOOOOOAL! MANDZUKIC HEADS HOME BRILLIANTLY! It's a well-weighted cross, and the Croatian rises above Wollscheid to nod into the far corner!
Neuer flaps at that! While trying to push the ball to safety from the edge of the six yard box, he doesn't get enough on it, allowing the delivery to bobble out of play for a throw-in on the far side. Not convincing, but he did just enough.
Five minutes until the break, and Leverkusen are threatening. Castro is found on the right flank, but the German midfielder isn't permitted to get a shot away with some disciplined defending. Hilbert overlaps from right-back and whips in a cross, but Rafinha nods it behind for a corner.
MULLER! The Germany international receives possession from Boateng, before driving positively at goal and trying his luck. It's always rising, however, and Leno is happy to watch the ball spiral into the crowd. Frustrations may just start to rise for Bayern, they can't find their killer instinct.
Muller and Robben combine well, but Leverkusen's tightly packed defenders manage to turn the attempted ball from Muller behind for a corner. The set piece is flighted in by the Dutchman, but nothing comes of it. The best chance of the game has still been that of Leverkusen's Son, as Die Roten continue to labour.
Awful cross from Bender! The German midfielder is found in acres of space on the right flank, before driving to the byeline. Castro is present in the centre of the area, with no pressure being exerted on him, but Bender can only turn the ball into the shins of the onrushing Boateng. Good interception, but a poor delivery nonetheless.
Bayern continue to move the ball around smoothly, but no chances are forthcoming. It was well publicised that Franz Beckenbauer criticised Guardola's passing philosophy somewhat in the past week, and it's certainly not bearing any fruit thus far. Contento wins a free-kick, but the delivery is claimed by Leno.
Half chance for Bayern! Gotze clips a wonderful touch over the leg of a pressuring defender, before Mandzukic knocks the ball down to the right side of the penalty area, hoping for Robben to be steaming in. Unfortunately for Die Roten, only Boenisch is present.
This isn't quite working for Bayern, as they're certainly on top, but the chances aren't flowing. Should Guardiola want to make a change at the half-time break, he certainly has options. The likes of Ribery, Thiago, Shaqiri, Martinez, Lahm and Alaba are all lying in wait for their opportunity - though it's plausible that the Spanish coach will want to rest them if possible.
WHAT AN EFFORT! ROLFES STRIKES FROM 30 YARDS! He strikes a rebounding ball first-time, and Neuer is truly alert to palm the ball over the crossbar athletically! He's had nothing to do all game, but when he's called upon, he certainly answers. The corner is flighted in, but Neuer claims.
Yellow Card Diego Contento
Contento receives the first yellow card of the game, for a high foot on Hilbert, who was forced to chase his own bad touch. The left-back protests, and you can see why, there wasn't a lot in that decision whatsoever.
Wonderful work down the left hand side from Gotze! Hilbert can't get tight to the former Dortmund man, who wriggles free and whips in a near post cross. Leverkusen clear, but the Bundesliga's fourth-placed team can't even get out of their own half for longer than half a minute.
There are so many red shirts in the Leverkusen half, that any poor clearance or ball forward is capitalised upon immediately. Son tries to break from deep in the midfield third, but the former Hamburg man is outmuscled by Boateng and the Germany international takes back possession.
KROOS! Wollscheid's clearance is smashed towards goal from the edge of the penalty area, but it is deflected wide of the target by Rolfes. Plenty of possession, but not much chance creation. Guardiola has faith in his side and philosophy however, so too many changes won't be forthcoming, one would imagine.
Still Bayern are unable to carve open a resilient Leverkusen side, and Leno has been equal to everything Die Roten have been able to throw at him. The away side are just lumping the ball forward when they get it, so the relentless Bavarian waves keep coming thick and fast.
Bayern haven't had the opening twenty minutes their own way, but they've certainly not looked low on ideas. Should Guardiola want to mix things up, he has plenty of options on the bench, the depth in this squad is ridiculous. Muller balloons a bouncing ball high and wide from 25 yards out.
Possession is still Bayern's domain, but Hyypia is happy to surrender the ball and take the rare chances his side have to foray forward. Kiessling is certainly isolated, and not in the best form, but Leverkusen have plenty of midfielders with the ability to pick out the Germany international.
Bayern continue to press forward, but it isn't quite their usual fluidity. Robben has been involved throughout, with Mandzukic perhaps a little isolated, and the hosts are struggling a little bit in defence. The usual power and pace of Dante being omitted from tonight's squad could prove costly against a Leverkusen outfit that are trying to break with speed.
OFFSIDE! Kiessling manages to get in behind the Bayern defence, behind Van Buyten, but the linesman has his flag raised! He looked to be onside, but only just, and he would have been able to race through on goal with Son in support. Another let-off for the home side.
Well, Leverkusen will probably come back to rue that missed chance from Son. They've been pegged back for the opening ten minutes, have one opportunity to take the lead from deep in Bayern's box, and they can't convert. Clinical finishing is a must against Die Roten, they just don't give you the opportunities you need.
SON! WHAT A CHANCE! Kiessling slips the ball through the hosts' defensive lines, leaving the South Korean midfielder with a golden opportunity, but he can only skew the ball wide of the post from eight yards out with Neuer bearing down on him! Well, Leverkusen will rue that missed chance.
The opening ten minutes have been played mostly in Bayern's half, and they've dominated possession and the chances. Leno has been by far the busier of the two goalkeepers.
ROBBEN! Great save from Leno! Leverkusen allow the Netherlands international to cut onto his favoured left foot, but Leno is able to get down smartly to his right to palm the ball behind for a corner - which he then claims comfortably. A solid start by the German shot-stopper.
Robben is heavily involved from the off, but is attracting the attentions of both Boenisch and Son, with the South Korean midfielder dropping back to help double up on the Dutchman. Bayern win another corner, but Leno claims Robben's set piece delivery with ease. Still no test for the visiting goalkeeper.
Bayern are in total control thus far, stroking the ball around with confidence, monopolising possession as is customary now. Gotze cuts inside and looks to lift a ball to Mandzukic, but his attempted pass is blocked. Schweinsteiger then shoots from range, but his effort whistles narrowly over Leno's crossbar.
Great challenge from Van Buyten, the veteran Belgian stands up tall to Son, who attempts to fool the defender with a couple of step-overs. It's a firm but fair challenge, right on the corner of the penalty area, and the visiting Leverkusen fans immediately are halted in their optimism.
Nothing comes of the opening two corners of the match, and Bayern quickly settle into controlling possession. Leverkusen are decidedly sitting back, showing the home side plenty of respect, packing the midfield in the hope of getting a point. The visitors today did manage to get a 1-1 draw out of their earlier match-up against Bayern this season.
Die Roten are of course playing in red, and there is a pulsating atmosphere at the Allianz Arena, as the home supporters look to encourage their rotated side to victory. Their progression midweek to the next round of the Champions League is yet another sign that Bayern are to finish this season in a very successful and lucrative manner. Gotze has the match's first effort, with a dipping volley from the edge of the box, but it's deflected behind for a corner.
We are underway in the first half at the Allianz Arena! This is the biggest test of the season for Leverkusen, who will presumably be approaching this fixture with a mentality of damage limitation, but Bayern's rotated back line might give Hyypia's men some encouragement!
We have 15 minutes until kick-off, and this game certainly has implication on the race for the Champions League places in the Bundesliga. Should Pep Guardiola's side pick up three points, they can mathematically win the title before the end of the month, while Leverkusen need a win to keep pace with Schalke in third place. With Dortmund losing to Gladbach earlier today, this evening constitutes a great opportunity for Hyypia's side to stake a claim for a Champions League spot.
Leverkusen substitutes: Yelldell, Derdiyok, Sam, Brandt, Guardado, Donati, Wagener.
Leverkusen starting line-up: Leno; Hilbert, Wollscheid, Spahic, Boenisch; Rolfes, Bender, Can; Castro, Kiessling, Son.
Bayern substitutes: Starke, Thiago, Ribery, Martinez, Lahm, Alaba, Shaqiri.
Bayern starting line-up: Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng, Van Buyten, Contento; Kroos, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Gotze, Muller; Mandzukic.
TEAM NEWS: Kiessling will be leading the line alone for the away side, with Emre Can facing his old side in a midfield three with Bender and Rolfes. Wollscheid and Spahic are the solid central defensive partnership, with both men needing to put in a mammoth shift this evening. Guardado is on the bench for the visitors, should Boenisch face too much trouble against Robben, or if the Mexico international could be required to double up on the flying Dutchman on the left hand side of midfield.
TEAM NEWS: A re-shuffle in defence, as Diego Contento and Van Buyten are fielded at left-back and centre-half respectively, with Muller presumably playing in a more conservative role in midfield alongside Kroos - though Gotze would be capable of filling in centrally if Muller was to provide a threat on the left hand side. Mandzukic starts up top, with the likes of Thiago, Ribery, Martinez, Lahm, Alaba and Shaqiri on a scandalously star-studded bench.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you fully informed with all of the action from the Allianz Arena, as Bayern host a side who are struggling in the league of late, with themselves doing anything but. However, there is plenty of rotation for Bayern, and following the court case involving club chief Uli Hoeness this week, Die Roten might just be in a vulnerable enough position for the away side to cause a few problems.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's late Bundesliga kick-off, as Bayer Leverkusen have the unenviable task of facing Bayern at the Allianz Arena. The visitors can take heart from Arsenal drawing here earlier in the week, but their own elimination from the Champions League against PSG won't inspire much confidence. Given their winless run in the German top flight which stretches back to the start of last, this could be a long afternoon for the away side.
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