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March 16, 2013
• BayArena, Leverkusen
Referee: P. Gagelmann
• Attendance: 30210
S. Rolfes 75'
M. Gómez 37'
P. Wollscheid 87' (own goal)
I hope that you have enjoyed Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Bayern's late 2-1 away win over Bayer Leverkusen, as Heynckes men tighten their grasp on the title. I've been Simon Harrison, and I'll catch you all next time!
The visitors have yet again edged towards league glory, maintaining their colossal gap at the top of the table. Leverkusen's defeat hurts their Champions League aspirations, as they fail to keep pace with second-placed Dortmund, but the hosts still have a cushion over the chasing pack.
There goes the final whistle! Bayern have hung on and grabbed all three points! It might be undeserved, but their travelling support don't care at all! Goals from Gomez and a Wollscheid own goal are enough for the Bundesliga leaders, despite a 75th minute Rolfes strike.
90' + 4'
Oooh! CLOSE! A dangerous cross is whipped in, but Van Buyten clears!
90' + 3'
Heynckes is out on the edge of his technical area, barking out instructions despite his side having possession in Leverkusen's half. He looks worried, but the league leaders should be able to ride this tempestuous game out!
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Daniel Schwaab
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Manuel Neuer
90' + 2'
Bayern repel a few more half-hearted Leverkusen attacks - it looks as though they're going to hold on for all three points here!
90' + 1'
Leverkusen win a corner in stoppage time! Could this be the opportunity to drew level again? No, yet again, Castro hits the first man! The second delivery is a little better, but Bayern clear!
We're into the last few minutes of this encounter, and it looks as though Bayern will be maintaining their phenomenal away record! Just as the momentum looked to be swinging in Leverkusen's favour, the point has been snatched away from them!
Carvajal is very lucky! The Spaniard looks to drag down Schweinsteiger, but the referee decides to allow play to continue! If he'd have given the foul, surely the right-back would have walked for a second booking!
Own Goal Philipp Wollscheid
GOOOOAL! BAYERN HAVE THE LEAD! I think it might have been an own goal! Wollscheid fails to head the ball away, and it hits the defender on his back before finding the back of the net! Cruel luck for the hosts!
Ooh! Sam fires a good effort at goal, but Boateng throws himself in the the path of the ball to block! The visitors are remaining quite deep now, Bayern are being conservative with the amount of players they're allowing forward to join their attacks.
Bayern look prepared to dig in for the duration, with Boateng, Van Buyten and Dante lining up intimidatingly across their back line. Castro tries an ambitious shot from an awkward position, but it doesn't worry Neuer at all.
The sting has certainly disappeared from Bayern in this second 45 minutes. The substitute of Robben was perhaps a too negative one, as the away side are left needing a goal from a team which is lacking a creative spark.
Wollscheid clears a dangerous ball out, and Bayern have a corner. Schweinsteiger's delivery is awful however, looping wildly past all of his awaiting teammates and out for a goal-kick. If I had been given some money for every poor corner delivery in this game, I'd be rich by now!
After being second-best to everything in the first half, the hosts have really kicked on in the second! Despite looking shell-shocked and a little unstable, Bayern still have the quality to hurt Leverkusen, this game could go either way yet!
CLOSE FOR BAYERN! Pizarro sees a shot blocked, before the ball deflects around the hosts penalty area, falling back to the Peruvian! He drags his second shot wide of Leno's post!
Could Leverkusen push on and complete the league double over Bayern? The hosts certainly have the ascendency!
Assist Sebastian Boenisch
Goal Simon Rolfes
GOOOOOOOAL! ROLFES! The home side have equalised! Bayern's marking from a free-kick was non-existent, and the veteran midfielder taps the ball home at the back post!
Frustrations show from Kiesling, as the Leverkusen man barges Martinez off the ball as the Spaniard shepherds the ball out of play. You can understand why he's annoyed, things haven't quite fallen his way tonight!
Daniel Van Buyten
Ooh, Kiesling fires about five yards over Neuer's bar! The lone striker swivels well on the ball after controlling well on the edge of the 18 yard box, but can't apply the finish!
Gomez doesn't look too happy with Heynckes' decision to substitute him, but the goalscorer has certainly given a good account of himself today. Plenty of strong running, displaying a great touch and with a brilliant goal on top of all that.
Now it's Bayern's turn to try and stem the red tide, as the visitors win a corner. Schweinsteiger's delivery fails to beat the first man, however! Deliveries have been atrocious this evening.
Unlucky for Gomez! The goalscorer brings down a long ball brilliantly, but can't set himself for a strike with his second touch. That wouldn't been a a fantastic goal if he'd turned the ball home... that touch was very nice indeed.
Kiesling is also having a bit of a torrid affair! The lone striker has been poor with his distribution, and hasn't actually managed to test Neuer yet either. Despite their improvement, the hosts are lacking the individual quality to break down a resilient Bayern.
Boenisch is certainly not enjoying his afternoon against Robben. The Dutchman is pulling out various tricks and skills to evade the challenges of his marker, and the Leverkusen man just keeps giving away needless free-kicks.
Schwaab takes over corner delivery duties, in place of the disappointing Castro, but similarly whips in an awful ball. Despite all of their corner opportunities, I can only think of one occasion where a Leverkusen player got his head on the ball.
Rolfes spreads play out to the right, allowing Sam to use his pace to beat Alaba. Luis Gustavo is covering however, and the Brazilian takes no prisoners before putting the ball out of play. The tide is certainly shifting in the hosts favour, their midfield are just beginning to get on top.
Leverkusen have won plenty of corner kicks in this second half, but Castro's deliveries have been terrible. Bayern are dominant in the air anyway, but the midfielders balls haven't done his side any favours whatsoever.
Robben flights in a free-kick from deep, perhaps around 35 yards, and Dante rises highest to try and turn the ball home. Gomez is found in an offside position as a result of the Brazilian's aerial win, and play is pulled back for the home free-kick.
Schweinsteiger robs Sam of the ball at the half-way line, but chooses to retain possession rather than drive down the wing. That's very much been the essence of Bayern's game tonight, patience.
Oooh, unlucky for Shaqiri! Robben weaves his way into the Leverkusen box, before (strangely) unselfishly setting the Swiss midfielder for an effort on goal! The ball bobbles up in front of the youngster however, and his shot goes horrendously wide!
Promising signs for the hosts in the opening ten minutes of the second half. Leverkusen have had the better of possession and chances, but the visitors certainly can't be given the opportunity to break! Shaqiri is looking relatively unplayable, too.
Yellow Card Gonzalo Castro
Rafinha clears importantly! Kiesling ghosts past Dante and Boateng, before cutting the ball back across the six yard box from the byline - but Rafinha is there to clear! Leverkusen are definitely pressing forward now!
Ooh! Sam tries a speculative effort! The substitute tries to test Neuer with a dipped half-volley, but he fires the ball narrowly over the bar!
The home side are definitely pressing far higher in this second half, pushing a great deal of players into the Bayern half. It's working a little too, as the hosts have managed to rack up a few corner wins in the last few minutes.
Schweinsteiger himself to shoot from the edge of the opposition area, letting fly with a right-footed drive, but Boenisch gets a block in.
Ooh! Fortunate for Bayern! Castro whips in a corner delivery and Martinez slices at his clearance! Thankfully for the visitors, Rafinha is there to clear. Leno hasn't had a good start to the second half, the Leverkusen keeper has already put two crossfield balls into touch.
Very composed play from Bayern so far in this game. The league leaders are happy to allow Neuer to spend time on the ball if he isn't pressurised, and look generally quite calm in possession.
Leverkusen peg Bayern back, boxing the visitors in their own half, whilst piling numbers forward. Although this is positive, Shaqiri has been able to dictate when his side breaks, and it's likely that the hosts could be hit on a counter attack.
And we're back underway in the second half! Can Leverkusen turn this game around and do the domestic double over league leaders Bayern? Sidney Sam is the only change for the home side, replacing Schurrle, as they look to chase that elusive breakthrough goal.
Leverkusen have really struggled to create anything, as Schurrle has been quiet and Kiesling isolated. Something needs to change in the second half, as the hosts lone striker isn't getting the service he needs. No complaints at the break, Bayern lead 1-0.
There's the half time whistle! Bayern lead through a Mario Gomez goal, due to an efficient and metronomic performance - it really doesn't look as though the hosts can deal with them! Despite resting key players, the visitors are confidently ahead.
45' + 1'
Martinez robs Castro of the ball on the edge of the area, as the Leverkusen midfielder shapes to strike at goal. Robben is again too greedy, and sees his shot charged down from 25 yards.
One minute until half time, and Bayern continue to work in the same methodical approach that they began the game with. The wasteful passing of Leverkusen has really fuelled the away side's gameplan, as Heynckes' men are keen to retain the ball for as long as possible - even if that means going back to Neuer.
Alaba drives down the left flank yet again, winning his side valuable yards and forcing Carvajal to really consider his challenges. The early yellow card for the Spaniard has really tied his hands behind his back, as he can't dive into any challenges without fearing a second yellow.
Corner to the hosts, after a free-kick delivery is diverted behind by a Bayern defender. Castro plays in a woeful cross from the set piece, failing to beat the first man! The first half hasn't been ideal for the midfielder, that's for sure.
Leverkusen really are struggling to break through the Bayern lines. Schurrle has been quiet, and Kiesling isolated, as the hosts are being limited to long range efforts and hopeful crosses.
That goal was definitely what Bayern deserved, as the visitors have looked a lot more potent. I think that might have been Gomez' first opportunity from inside the box, and he tucked it away beautifully. Leverkusen have a lot of work to do now!
Assist Xherdan Shaqiri
Goal Mario Gomez
GOOOOOOOOAL! WHAT A GOAAAL! GOMEZ! The striker clips the ball brilliantly over two challenges, before bursting into the area and passing the ball composedly past Leno!
OOOH! Good save from Neuer! Boenisch almost finds the bottom corner, but the intimidatingly huge German stop-stopper manages to get a very strong right hand to the ball, to turn it around the post!
Kiesling wins a corner off Dante, after the striker got ahead of the Brazilian defender and attempt to cut the ball back into the box from the byline! Neuer claims the set piece confidently though, as Leverkusen continue to struggle to carve out an opportunity.
ROBBEN! The Dutchman has his head in his hands, after a driving run from his own half results in him ballooning the ball over Leno's bar. He's known for being a bit selfish, and that passage of play certainly showed that side of him!
Kiesling wants a foul given for a Boateng challenge on the edge of the penalty area, but the referee says no! The striker looked to have hooked the ball over the challenge of the Bayern defender, but I don't think there was any intent from the German.
That goal would have been deserved for the visitors, as the hosts haven't provided much of an attacking threat so far. Boateng rose brilliantly to meet the front post corner delivery, but Castro keeps the scores level. Frustration for Bayern, but they've continued to press.
OFF THE LINE! Castro saves Leverkusen, as a Robben corner is flicked on and destined for the back post! The midfielder comes to the rescue, clearing the dangerous ball with his thigh!
Kiesling isn't having the most exciting of games so far, as he's forced to waste his energy closing down Boateng and Dante when they're in possession. He's certainly isolated, but from his goals tally this season, we all know that he could change the game with one chance!
The impetus has certainly shifted into Bayern's favour, and the visitors are gaining some momentum. Their build up play is crisper, bringing a feeling of foreboding along with it too.
OOOOH! BAYERN GO CLOSE! After a clearance loops high into the air, Robben is the man who finds himself beneath the ball, attempting a half volley across goal! The ball bounces agonizingly wide, with Schweinsteiger unable to stretch and tap the ball home!
The first 20 minutes have been decidedly cagey, with both sides only willing to tentatively move up the field and test the opposition keepers from distance. As I say that, Alaba drives forward down the flank brilliantly, before switching the ball inside to Gomez. The Bayern hitman miscues his effort however, screwing the ball over the bar!
Finally some offensive signs of life for the home side, as Kiesling and then Rolfes take it in turns to rifle long-range efforts at goal! Schweinsteiger then goes close at the other end, dragging a shot just wide from the edge of the box!
Kiesling rockets a strike at Neuer's net, catching it sweetly, but Dante manages to put a foot in to deflect the ball over the bar for a corner! Rolfes meets the resulting corner with his head, but Rafinha is able to clear!
Ooh! Good play from the away side! Bayern work the ball well down the right, before Rafinha aims a cross for the back post, which Schweinsteiger can't quite get on the end of! Kiesling is mercifully back on the pitch for the hosts.
Luis Gustavo flattens Kiesling, leaving the striker on the ground. The Brazilian is only one yellow card from a one-game suspension, he needs to be careful! Kiesling limps off, but he looks quite hurt.
The hosts are perhaps aiming to hit Bayern on the break, as when the away side are in possession, a bank of five midfielders fills the Leverkusen half. This game certainly hasn't been energetic so far, it's more like a game of chess.
Shaqiri hasn't played very wide at all so far, the young Swiss player has drifted deep into the centre of the field, allowing Rafinha to bomb on down the right. Robben just brought the ball down wonderfully in the opposition box, but his cheeky chipped cross doesn't find a teammate.
Ooh, great intervention from Schwaab! Shaqiri sprays the ball wide to Alaba and the Austrian whips a devilish ball into the box! The Leverkusen defender meets the cross well with his head, diverting the ball away from the lurking Gomez!
There's only been one half-chance so far, as both teams continue to play controlled build up play. Neither side are in a rush, and I'm sure they're similarly happy to grow into the game when a few gaps might open up later in the match.
Rolfes outmuscles Martinez, before spraying the ball wide to Castro, who hangs a ball up at the back post. The delivery is decent and accurate, but there's nobody positioned to meet the cross!
Robben hasn't received the best reception this evening! The Dutchman is met with jeers and whistles whenever he gets in possession! He's probably used to it!
Dante makes a careless error, giving the ball away needlessly to Andre Schurrle, but the young German runs the ball out of play for a goal kick. That could have been very costly for the visitors - the Brazilian centre-half can count himself lucky that Schurrle didn't punish his mistake.
Yellow Card Daniel Carvajal
Ooh! Martinez nods the ball narrowly over the bar, following a flick-on from a Robben free-kick. The Spaniard's effort took a deflection, but from the resulting corner Leno claims.
As aforementioned, it's definitely a cagey first few minutes. Bayern have had the majority of possession, but no chances whatsoever as of yet. The away side are happy to retain possession and build up their attacks in a measured manner.
Bayern start the better of the two sides, with the majority of their side getting an early touch of the ball. Alaba shows some nice skill with his first touch of the ball, but it's quite a cautious start from both teams.
And we're off! The referee gets the game underway, as Bayern hope to take one step closer to securing the Bundesliga trophy!
The players walk out onto the field, met with a great atmosphere. With Lahm and Muller rested, could Leverkusen do the domestic double over Bayern this season?
Just a reminder for both sets of fans, earlier Borussia Dortmund triumphed over Freiburg, meaning that they have closed the gap on leaders Bayern by three points, as well as pulling three points clear of third-placed Leverkusen.
Bayern starting line-up: Neuer, Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Martinez, Gustavo, Robben, Schweinsteiger, Shaqiri, Gomez.
Bayer Leverkusen starting line-up: Leno, Boenisch, Schwaab, Wollscheid, Daniel Carvajal, Rolfes, Reinartz, Bender, Schurrle, Castro, Kiesling.
Both sides will be keen to pick up three points today, but for entirely differing reasons - although both involve Borussia Dortmund. The home side will be looking to stay within a point of second-placed Dortmund with a victory, whereas the visitors will be attempting to maintain the huge gap between themselves and the rest of the league pack.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action, as an out of form Bayer Leverkusen face a Bayern side who have picked up a great deal of momentum in the league of late - regardless of their 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal midweek.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Bundesliga's evening kick-off, as table-topping Bayern Munich pay a visit to Bayer Leverkusen, as Jupp Heynckes men go in search of another three points on their march to the league title.
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