Bayern Munich could be made to wait longer than expected to confirm themselves as Bundesliga champions after RB Leipzig beat them for the first time in their short history.
A win would have left them two points from the finishing line and they initially looked on course when Sandro Wagner put them ahead early.
They were poor thereafter though, with Naby Keïta equalising before the break and Timo Werner, surprisingly left on the bench initially, scored the winner after half-time.
Wagner draws first blood for Bayern
After making progress in their respective European ties during the weekend, both teams made a surprising amount of changes, six each, for this supposedly big contest. The hosts left out Willi Orban, Emil Forsberg and Werner amongst others, although the latter came on inside the first ten minutes for the injured Marcel Sabitzer.
Robert Lewandowski was not in the starting 11 for Bayern, unable to win the title here after Schalke 04’s win on Saturday, with Wagner named up front. Joshua Kimmich and James Rodríguez were also amongst those coming in.
Perhaps Ralph Hasenhüttl had a plan, choosing to play with a 3-4-3 formation as well else the surprising choose of personnel, and Leipzig started ok before the loss of Sabitzer. Diego Demme teed up Yussuf Poulsen for an early chance but without a goal since early November he put it wide.
Bernat and David Alaba had already found space along Bayern’s left, but it was from the right that they took the lead in the twelfth minute. Thomas Müller found Rodríguez, who perfectly placed the ball into the box. Wagner was in exactly the right place, and headed the ball into the near side of the net.
Keïta gives Leipzig a deserved equaliser
Leipzig responded with a superb ball forward from the back from Dayot Upamecano, finding Poulsen. Sven Ulreich blocked his shot though, with Poulsen unable to get to the rebound quickly enough to beat him with that either. After a quieter spell, Bruma forced Ulreich into a good save to put his free-kick over, and from the resulting corner Werner nearly sent the ball towards goal, only for Niklas Süle to clear off the line.
More chances came and went for Poulsen, but Leipzig had done more than enough to deserve an equaliser by the time they got it. After a Konrad Laimer throw, the ball was given away by Sebastian Rudy back to Laimer, who found Keïta before Werner’s shot was blocked by Süle. The loose ball fell to Keïta though, and his was able to put it in.
Bayern had not been great since the Wagner goal, and despite a half chance for Müller soon before the break, they had to deal with plenty of pressure at the other end. Kevin Kampl had a chance to score from a free-kick but was well off target, whilst Keïta and Poulsen broke, but Bayern’s defence got back before Keïta could only manage to find Ulreich.
Werner puts Leipzig on course
The early stages of the second half looked to be following a similar pattern, with a devastating break from Leipzig putting them ahead. Kampl and Keïta were involved before Werner was allowed to run clear. Süle was battling to keep up with him as he approached Ulreich, and placed the ball past him to put his team ahead.
With Bayern behind that set up a fascinating, and open, second half. Werner had another chance a few minutes later, but this time went wide, with Mats Hummels seeming to abandon his defensive station. He then turned up at the other end of the pitch to almost level, with his shot – only Bayern’s second of the entire game – put wide by Peter Gulácsi.
Franck Ribéry came on and quickly got under the skin of Keïta, with both getting booked after a coming together of the two sets of players. Laimer was the unlikely next man to have the chance to extend Leipzig’s lead, but he bottled it and went for a cross, which was poor, rather than shooting. Kimmich then presented a perfect chance from out wide to Arturo Vidal, but he failed to head on goal with Gulácsi struggling to get back.
Even Lewandowski, nor VAR, can save Bayern
Lewandowski was brought on, but managed to get booked before causing any problems at the sharp end of the pitch. His header in the box went off the foot of Stefan Ilsanker and onto his arm, with Marco Fritz upholding his decision not to give a penalty after taking a look at the replay. As play continued, Lewandowski’s follow-up was kept out by Gulácsi, before Ribéry’s cross was headed well, well wide by Hummels and VAR could then look at that earlier decision.
Bayern scored three times in the last ten minutes in the famous 5-4 victory here last season, but such heroics did not look forthcoming on this particular evening. They had four minutes added on at the end to use, but a Vidal cross was cleared by Ilsanker before Wagner went wide, via a deflection, from the corner.
That was the best they muster though, and they march to the title took a big hit. They’re still 17 points clear at the top, and could still wrap it up against Borussia Dortmund in their next game on Easter Saturday, as long as Schalke slip up against SC Freiburg. For the first time in five attempts though, Leipzig had kept their heads and beaten Bayern, to keep up their push for another UEFA Champions League campaign next season.