Robert Lewandowski’s brace fires Bayern Munich back into the top as they wrap up Hinrunde with a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich secured the Herbstmeister or the winter champion title for the first time in two years following a late 2-1 win over high-flying Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Chances were coming thick and fast for both sides during the first phase of the game. Yet, Patrik Schick’s remarkable strike early in the game shocked most of the onlookers, particularly due to the quality of the strike. The lead, however, didn’t last long as Robert Lewandowski equalised for Bayern just before the half-time mark.

In some ways, it was exactly a carbon copy of the midweek win over Wolfsburg as the Bavarians began to look more dominant in the second half. Leverkusen did manage to create chances, thanks to their opposition’s high press which allowed the pacy wingers like Moussa Diaby and Leon Bailey to make multiple runs in behind the backline.

Unfortunately for Die Werkself, both the attackers fared poorly in regards to their decision-making in the final third. And it cost them dearly as Lewandowski found the winner in the last minute of the game, owing to a mistake made by Jonathan Tah, who was also culpable for losing the Pole for the first goal.

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Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Bayern Munich players in their hard-fought win over Bayer Leverkusen in this weekend’s topspiel.

Manuel Neuer: 7/10

Manuel Neuer, to his fortunes, didn’t have to make too many saves and bail out Bayern Munich once again as he did in the game against Wolfsburg. He was, however, flawless in terms of his positioning, clearing out multiple long balls that could have led to excellent chances for Leverkusen.

Niklas Sule: 6.5/10

Niklas Sule once again started as a right-back ahead of Benjamin Pavard this evening. His imposing presence gave Bayern the advantage in set-pieces, but the German did struggle in dealing with the raw pace of Diaby on the flanks. He was, however, excellent in pressuring the Leverkusen winger into making a mistake.

Jerome Boateng: 6.5/10

Jerome Boateng is simply not an ideal fit for Bayern Munich’s high and aggressive defensive line. He doesn’t have the pace to make up the ground, though the veteran centre-back does deserve credit for taking care of Schick for the most part of the game.

Lucas Hernandez: 7.5/10

Lucas Hernandez was excellent in midweek and the Frenchman didn’t disappoint this time either. Although he did have some nervy moments, he did his job brilliantly in defending the Leverkusen counter-attacks, barely allowing the opposing attackers any time to make an impact in the final third.

Alphonso Davies: 7.5/10

Alphonso Davies’ duel with Bailey was one of the main attractions of this weekend’s topspiel. The Canadian certainly didn’t find it easy dealing with the Jamaican, but he also caused Leverkusen some problems with his forays down the flanks.

Corentin Tolisso: 6/10

Corentin Tolisso wasn’t really involved in the game too much. He struggled to help Bayern Munich control things in the middle of the park and was often overwhelmed by the midfield trifecta of Florian Wirtz, Nadiem Amiri and Julian Baumgartlinger. He was eventually taken off midway through the second half.

David Alaba: 7/10

David Alaba had to operate in the holding midfield role due to dearth of options for coach Hansi Flick. The Austrian wasn’t exceptional by any means, but he did get the job done. He offered protection for the back-four but more importantly, he threaded some useful forward passes, ultimately easing Bayern’s transition.

Serge Gnabry: 6.5/10

Serge Gnabry once again struggled to impose his authority on the flanks this evening. The German international was nowhere near his best, often lacking consistency in his final deliveries. It doesn’t bode well for a Bayern side that does not have too much depth in the attacking department.

Thomas Muller: 7/10

Thomas Muller made some clinical runs as one could expect from Bayern’s Ramdeuter. The attacker did look clumsy at times, though, and may have been a bit more precise with his balls in the final third.

Nevertheless, Muller did provide the cross that led to Lewandowski’s equaliser just before half-time. He was also involved in multiple attacking moments for the away side this evening.

Kingsley Coman: N/A

Kingsley Coman looked sharp during the early stages of the game as he operated on the left-hand side. Unfortunately, luck didn’t favour him as the Frenchman picked up yet another injury around the half-hour mark, leading to his substitution.

Robert Lewandowski: 10/10

Just a day after being awarded FIFA’s Best Men’s Player award, Lewandowski was simply on fire against Bayer Leverkusen. He made life difficult for Jonathan Tah, who completely lost him for the first goal. In addition to the equaliser, the Pole was hugely involved in Bayern’s approach play. He was also the fastest player on the pitch, clocking up an impressive 34.2 kilometres an hour.

The Bayern Munich superstar capped off his performance by sealing a brace in the final minute of the game, sealing all three points for his side.

Substitutes

Leroy Sane: 5/10

Leroy Sane replaced the injured Coman around the half-hour but made very little impact on the proceedings. Looked frustrated when he was subbed off around the 68th-minute mark.

Joshua Kimmich: 7/10

Made his highly-anticipated return to the pitch when he replaced Tolisso midway through the second half. His return and the win against Leverkusen serves as a perfect Christmas gift for Bayern Munich fans in what has been a fantastic year for the club.

Jamal Musiala: 8/10

Replaced Sane during the final phase of the game and offered that spark in midfield that Bayern were missing throughout the game. Was unlucky not to score as one of his efforts on goal hit the post, leaving Lukas Hradecky stranded.

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