Two ridiculous penalty decisions condemned Bayer 04 Leverkusen to a 3-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena, but the scoreline nowhere near reflects the game.
Leverkusen went into this match in good form, and high in confidence after their midweek demolition of Lazio. Unfortunately, referee Florian Meyer decided he wanted to make the headlines, and duly booked four players inside the first twenty minutes, as well as awarding two penalties to Bayern that only Bayern would get. It was not a good performance from him, as he constantly stopped the game.
The first shot didn't come until the twelfth minute, when Thomas Muller played a quick free kick to Arjen Robben. The Dutch flyer then terrorised the Leverkusen defence, before laying the ball off to Thiago. The Spaniard hit a first time shot, but it flew over. The visitors' first chance didn't come until twenty minutes before half time, when Stefan Kießling looped a header wide from Admir Mehmedi's cross.
Immediately after Kießling's header, Bayern stormed down the other end and took the lead. Xavi Alonso played a wonderful diagonal ball to Douglas Costa, who outpaced and outmuscled Roberto Hilbert before crossing to Thomas Muller for a tap in. The lead could have been doubled just before the half hour, when Robben flew down the left and crossed into the waiting Costa. He twisted his body to meet the ball, and thumped a volley off Leno's right hand post.
Hakan Calhanoglu has been hitting some trademark spectacular free kicks this season, and he hit his best yet eight minutes before the break. From some thirty five yards out, and out on the left, he unleashed an absolute barnstormer that crashed off the top of the bar with Neuer flapping. It would have been a goal of the season contender for sure.
Five minutes after the restart, Kießling had a double chance to equalise. First, his shot on the stretch was saved by Neuer, but the ball came straight back to the striker. He headed goalwards, but David Alaba was on hand to clear the ball. Karim Bellarabi then curled a shot, via a slight deflection, into the arms of Neuer. At the other end, Robert Lewandowski almost scored the luckiest goal of his career. Leno came rushing out to clear a loose ball, but Lewandowski charged the keeper down, and the ball ricocheted of the Polish striker and bounced inches wide.
Then came the first penalty. As Arturo Vidal jumped for a cross, Roberto Hilbert jumped too. The referee deemed that something untoward had occurred, and eagerly awarded the penalty. Up stepped Thomas Muller. Bang, 2-0, and another goal to mark Muller's two hundredth Bundesliga game. Roger Schmidt immediately withdrew Hakan in a clear sign he had forfeited the game with half an hour to go.
The second penalty was awarded with twenty to go. Hilbert charged down a cross, but despite the ball clearly hitting his side, Mr Meyer pointed to the spot. Arjen Robben confidently sent Leno the wrong way and the points were sealed. Leno had to be at his best to keep it down to three, making two good saves from Lewandowski.
The performance in general was good from die Werkself, and we just have to hope the defeat doesn't too much damage to the team's confidence.
After the international break, Leverkusen host promoted Darmstadt, and then travel to Borussia Dortmund. Hopefully by then Roger will have been able to add another defender and striker to his squad.