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Bayer Leverkusen takes huge step towards ending Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga dominance

Sport

Bayer Leverkusen took an almighty step towards winning its first Bundesliga title after producing a stunning comeback victory on Saturday, before title rival Bayern Munich lost during an eventful day in the German top-flight.

Leverkusen scored two late goals to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and maintain its unbeaten record in the league. Later that day, Bayern Munich produced a disappointing display in a 2-0 loss to fierce rival Borussia Dortmund.

After winning 11 consecutive titles, it seemed unthinkable at the start of the season that any team could knock Bayern Munich off its perch, but Leverkusen now sits 13 points clear atop the table with just seven games remaining.

Asked whether the title race was already over, Bayern Munich manager Thomas Tuchel produced a withering response after seeing his side beaten for the fifth time in the league this season.

“Obviously, yes,” he said, per Reuters. “After today’s game there is no more need to count points. How many is it now? Congratulations to Leverkusen.”

It was another dramatic performance from Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen which is still competing for three trophies this season, and remains unbeaten in its last 39 matches.

Despite its brilliant form of late, Leverkusen actually started the match poorly against Hoffenheim and went behind in the 33rd minute courtesy of Maximilian Beier.

However, as it has done on many occasions this season, Leverkusen struck late and equalized in the 88th minute through Robert Andrich.

Not content with the draw, the host kept coming and Patrik Schick eventually scored the winner in the 91st minute, sending the BayArena into a frenzy.

“To have this faith, to have a winning mentality, it is something that is created and we have created it this season,” Alonso said after the game, per Reuters.

Given Leverkusen’s incredible season, manager Alonso had been linked with a high-profile move away from the club, notably to either Bayern Munich or Liverpool.

However, Alonso has now committed to Leverkusen for next season, which is another huge win for the club on the edge of making history.

For Bayern, however, Saturday was another low note for a club that seems to find itself in turmoil.

Manager Tuchel is set to leave at the end of the season and the players have simply failed to live up to their billing.

Star striker Harry Kane, although brilliant for much of the season, missed a number of chances against Dortmund which claimed its first league win at Bayern Munich in 10 years.

With chances of winning a 12th consecutive title now all but gone, Munich must regain focus for the Champions League where it faces Arsenal in the quarterfinals.

“I do wonder how we can display such an attitude. It’s frustrating and inexplicable. You have to be on fire against Dortmund, already the day before the match. We didn’t show that at all today,” Bayern star Joshua Kimmich said after Saturday’s loss.

“We presented ourselves as if nothing was at stake. That can’t happen to us. We’re not managing to do our job. We must win every game if we still want to have a chance.

“We don’t need to look at Leverkusen. As players, we should go home and think about it. With such an attitude we’ll have a hard time against any opponent.”

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