Bayer Leverkusen 2-4 Bayern Munich: Bayern close in on title after proving too good for Werkself 
(Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Bayern Munich moved to within six points of the Bundesliga title after coming from behind to beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at the BayArena.

First-half efforts from Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry ensured Lucas Alario's ninth-minute opener was forgotten by the interval.

Robert Lewandowski's 44th goal of the season stretched Bayern's lead but Leverkusen, who were without top scorer Kai Havertz, pulled one back in the dying stages as 17-year-old Florian Wirtz became the league's youngest-ever scorer.

Story of the match

After a lively, physical opening, Leverkusen caught out Bayern's defence to snatch the lead. Julian Baumgartlinger lifted the ball through to Alario, who coolly prodded past Manuel Neuer. A VAR review showed that he had beaten David Alaba's belated offside trap.

Bayern then began to establish control and went agonisingly close to an equaliser on 24 minutes. Thomas Muller dug out a brilliant dinked cross, but neither Lewandowski nor Coman could generate the power to beat Lukas Hradecky from point-blank range.

When Coman's next chance arrived shortly afterwards, he took it with aplomb. Goretzka stole possession off a careless Moussa Diaby in the centre circle and set his team-mate away. Coman proceeded to open up his body and whip the ball into the far corner to level the scores.

Bayern then motored clear in the final minutes of the first half. Leverkusen piled in on Neuer's goal as they attacked a corner, but that left them vulnerable to a counter when Bayern regained possession. The leaders swept upfield, and after Coman's flick, Muller worked the ball to Goretzka, who found the bottom right corner with a driven cross-goal shot to score in back-to-back games. Hradecky got a significant touch and will feel he ought to have done better.

Alaba's pinged aerial ball to Lewandowski, who chested down and flashed a shot wide just before Goretzka's strike, ought to have been a warning for Leverkusen. Yet they were repeatedly undone when Bayern chose to go direct.

Jerome Boateng floated Gnabry in-behind on 43 minutes, and though Hradecky prevailed in their first one-against-one battle by saving with his left leg, he saw the ball chipped over his head and into the net in stoppage time after Joshua Kimmich's almost identical long ball bypassed the defence. 

There were opportunities at both ends early in the second half. First, Diaby, who had an immensely frustrating afternoon, lashed high and wide after substitute Wendell knocked him through, then Muller sidefooted past the post after Coman laid the ball into his path on the edge of the area.

Not long after the hour mark, Coman looked to tee-up Gnabry from the byline but the German fired over after striding onto a half-volley.

Soon enough, Bayern had the fourth to wrap up the game. Muller tied Kevin de Bruyne's record of 20 Bundesliga assists with a superb, nonchalant cross that Lewandowski powered past a rooted Hradecky.

There were a couple of positives for Leverkusen to take in the closing stages. Kevin Volland returned from injury and exchanged passes with fellow sub Kerem Demirbay in the build-up to an 89th-minute consolation. Wirtz, aged 17 years and 34 days, stepped inside Kimmich and bent it past Neuer, taking his first Bundesliga goal as it were his 100th. 

Takeaways

Bayern's firepower simply too much for their rivals

An eighth consecutive Bundesliga title beckons for Bayern Munich, who have now won 17 of their 20 league games under Hansi Flick.

What separates them from a strong chasing pack? Goals. 90, to be precise, over the course of 30 matches. That's a record for this stage of the season.

Here, they again showed occasional defensive vulnerabilities, but their front four, augmented by the rampaging Alphonso Davies, is just overwhelmingly good.

Philippe Coutinho (injured today) and Ivan Perisic offer quite some depth.

Make no mistake, they are sufficiently lethal - whether facing a regimented block or springing into a counter - to conquer Europe if and when the Champions League resumes.

Man of the match - Leon Goretzka

Goretzka's assist for Bayern's equaliser - a firm, opportunistic challenge and a perfectly-weighted release - epitomised his imposing, assured performance. He then gave the visitors a lead they never relinquished with a driven end to a flowing counter.

What's next?

Bayern will be without two talismanic figures when they host the dangerous Borussia Monchengladbach next Saturday. Lewandowski and Muller both picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season in the first half, triggering a suspension.

Leverkusen, level on points with Gladbach in the hunt for Champions League football, will look to pile the misery on Schalke in the Sunday evening kick-off. 

VAVEL Logo