Bayern Munich display dominance against Leverkusen

Bayern Munich players celebrating against Bayer Leverkusen (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)
Bayern Munich players celebrating against Bayer Leverkusen (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images) /

As the ball went out of play around the 40th minute, the substitution board was held up, Josip Stanišić was introduced into the game as Alphonso Davies stepped away with no overt sign of injury; the most justifiable explanation stands to be his brilliant albeit arduous displays for the Canadian National Team during the international break. He had been relentless on the night during his relatively shorter shift, bombing forward as an aid for Leroy Sane on the left for Bayern Munich while also making crucial tackles on the defensive end. 40 minutes in, the job was done. Serge Gnabry had just pierced through a frozen Leverkusen backline to score the fifth with no answer from the opposition.

The game was touted to deliver not only an entertaining affair but a competitive one. Bayer Leverkusen had been basking in a five-game winning streak since the 4-3 defeat at the hands of Borussia Dortmund in September. Patrik Schick strode into the season in tune with his Euros heroics with six goals in seven appearances in the league. Florian Wirtz’s 9 goal contributions in the league have piqued the interests of fans and clubs around the world. Gerardo Seoane seemed to have his side set up for the necessary concoction of potency and conviction.

Yet in three minutes Robert Lewandowski had found the back of the net following a straightforward ball into the mix from Dayot Upamecano who found himself unmarked in the box during a set-piece. 1-0 it was. A lapse turned to negligence and Bayern broke through on the counter as Alphonso Davies allowed the Pole to slot away a second to double the lead. Perhaps Leverkusen expected some reprieve, a momentary breather to gather themselves, all in vain; Bayern kept coming.

Niklas Süle’s flair for offence paid dividends as his shot on goal was bundled into the back of the net via a Thomas Müller deflection. Instantly, Bayern was on the break. Müller’s cross was calmly dispatched by Gnabry. Again, Gnabry finds the space through a hapless defense and gets a fifth.

If it reads as a sublime, effortless first-half performance, trust in the fact that Bayern made it look much simpler. Each player contributed to demolishing any feasible plan of action from Leverkusen. Incessant pressing stifled any build-up while stability in defense made up for spaces left in midfield, a mere consequence and perhaps, growing pains of Bayern’s identity under Julian Nagelsmann.

A second-half goal by striker Patrik Schick could barely be classified as consolation. It was academic, Bayern had demolished the hopes of their opponents, another ‘topspiel’ made to look ordinary by the ‘Rekordmeister’.

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Is that wrong? Is there something mundane about Bayern and the ‘predictability’ of their brilliance? The new-found certainty at the back under Nagelsmann, the omnipresence of numerous stars in Davies, Goretzka, even Sane, the emergence of a glamorous tandem between youth and experience. Bayern has risen to be a melting pot of success. An inherent belief that success will eventually come. The side that lost to Eintracht Frankfurt laid waste to a contending hopeful. Night after night, Bayern set higher standards as the rest struggle to keep up.

Moments will come, losses will come. Yet, dethroning the Bavarians goes beyond results, diving into a psychological aspect requiring years to cultivate. Its possibility in the short-term remains to be seen, but for now, Bayern believes, so they are.