The title race in the Bundesliga is expected to go down to the wire as Bayern Munich slipped to second place on Sunday. The defending champions suffered a 2-1 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen on matchday 25, which allowed Borussia Dortmund to leapfrog them in the points table.
Bayern had taken an early lead against Leverkusen on Sunday courtesy of a well-taken goal from Joshua Kimmich. However, the visitors struggled to build on this lead during the first half. Leverkusen came back strong in the second half and took the lead, courtesy of poor discipline from Die Roten’s defense. The visitors conceded two penalties in the second half, allowing Leverkusen to complete the comeback victory.
Along with poor decision-making in defense, Die Roten also struggled to create chances in the second half. There was a lack of cohesiveness in the final third, which was highlighted by several poor passes from attacking players after taking promising positions to score.
Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic was not pleased with the performance of the team. While talking to the media after the game (via iMiaSanMia), Salihamidzic insisted that there was a complete lack of intensity from players, which is not acceptable at Bayern.
"“This is not what FC Bayern is all about. There was so little drive, mentality, duels. This team is so good when the mentality is there right from the start, but just as bad when they don’t show mentality and think they can do everything just with their quality.”"
Bayern had the entire week to prepare for Leverkusen, so the lack of intensity in and out of possession was surprising. They would have struggled to score on Sunday if the game went on for more than an hour after the full-time. Leverkusen was able to nullify the visitors in the final third with ease.
Salihamidzic and Julian Nagelsmann will hope to see a response from Bayern after the international break. The Bavarian club can go back to the top of the points table when they host Borussia Dortmund on April 1. Die Roten needs to win the majority of their remaining nine league games to successfully defend the Bundesliga title.
The mentality and intensity from Bayern need to be spot-on for the rest of the season if they want to achieve success. Nagelsmann needs to make sure that there is no repeat of what happened at Bay Arena on Sunday. With games coming thick and fast after the international break, Nagelsmann needs to get the best out of players to achieve the desired results.
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Players have joined their respective national teams for the international break. Jamal Musiala and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will stay in Munich to recover from their respective injuries. The youngster suffered a hamstring strain against Leverkusen, while Choupo-Moting is still nursing a back injury.