Robert Lewandowski underlined his status as FIFA player of the year with both goals, the second coming just before the final whistle, as European champions Bayern Munich went top of the Bundesliga yesterday with a 2-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen, who they usurped to first place.
Having beaten Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the award on Thursday, Lewandowski claimed the last-gasp winner after 93 minutes at the BayArena. “What a year we have had, I hope we will continue to play like this in the new year,” Lewandowski said. “It’s always nice to score a goal in the last few seconds, especially to get an important victory. This shows that we always want to win games like these,” Lewandowski added.
Lewandowski has 20 goals in 18 games this season in all competitions having also headed Bayern level just before the break after Patrik Schick gave Leverkusen an early lead. The Bavarians are two-points clear going into the league’s two-week winter break.
Second-placed Leverkusen are level on 28 points with RB Leipzig, who are third after their goalless draw at home to Cologne. Having also ended Wolfsburg’s unbeaten run this season in mid-week, Bayern are also the first Bundesliga team to beat Leverkusen this term.
For the seventh league game in a row, Bayern conceded the opening goal when Leverkusen exposed the European champions’ current trend of weak defending at set pieces. The visitors took the lead on 14 minutes when Schick smashed his shot past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, voted goalkeeper of the year on Thursday, from a corner.
Schick had the ball in the Bayern net again on 28 minutes, but he was offside. Bayern equalised with their first clear attack just before half-time when Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba lost possession. The ball was worked to Thomas Mueller, whose cross flew over the defence to Lewandowksi to head home unmarked at the far post.
Bayern’s England Under-21 midfielder Jamal Musiala hit the post midway through the second-half before Lewandowski struck. A ball flicked on by Joshua Kimmich, making his first appearance after a knee injury, put Lewandowski in behind the defence to clinically fire home the winner.
Earlier, Borussia Moenchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram was sent off for spitting in an opponent’s face during the 2-1 home defeat by Hoffenheim. The France forward was shown a straight red card with 11 minutes left, which turned the game after the VAR spotted Thuram spitting at the visitors’ defender Stefan Posch. The incident happened just after Andrej Kramaric had equalised for the away side at Borussia Park. Nine minutes after Thuram’s dismissal, Tottenham loanee Ryan Sessegnon put Hoffenheim ahead when he tapped in a cross unmarked at the far post.
Gladbach, who face Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League in February, had gone ahead when their captain Lars Stindl converted a first-half penalty. Having made his France debut in November, this was the first time Thuram — the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram — has been sent off for Gladbach in his two seasons in Germany.
Despite bringing in Dutch veteran Huub Stevens on Friday as their third coach this season, Schalke are now 29 games without a win after their 1-0 defeat at home to Arminia Bielefeld. Elsewhere, Werder Bremen’s 19-year-old striker Eren Dinkci enjoyed a fairytale Bundesliga debut, scoring their 90th-minute winner with a superb header to seal a 1-0 victory at Mainz.
RB Leipzig 0 Cologne 0; Borussia Moenchengladbach 1 (Stindl 34-pen) Hoffenheim 2 (Kramaric 75, Sessegnon 86; Schalke 04 0 Arminia Bielefeld 1 (Klos 53); Mainz 05 0 Werder Bremen 1 (Dinkci 90); Augsburg 0 Eintracht Frankfurt 2 (Framberger 53-og, Ilsanker 87); Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Schick 14) Bayern Munich 2 (Lewandowski 43, 90+3)
Playing today: Freiburg v Hertha Berlin (1430), VfL Wolfsburg v VfB Stuttgart (1700)
Played Friday: Union Berlin 2 (Awoniyi 57, Friedrich 78) Borussia Dortmund 1 (Moukoko 60)