Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season on Saturday as Bayern Munich came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen and move a step closer to the Bundesliga title.
After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favour after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.
“We didn’t start well, but I think it’s something which really distinguishes us at the moment, that we are able to fight our way back into games,” midfielder Leon Goretzka told Sky.
“Without the crowd pushing you, you have to rely on yourself and your team-mates. We are doing this well at the moment.”
Lewandowski netted in the second half — setting a new personal best with 44 goals in all competitions — as Bayern established a 10-point lead over title rivals Borussia Dortmund, who host Hertha Berlin later on Saturday, although Leverkusen teenager Florian Wirtz’s strike late on made him the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever scorer.
The game also saw Bayern lend their support to protests over the death of black American man George Floyd, with all their players wearing armbands bearing the slogan “Black Lives Matter”.
“As players, we always have the same message: we are tolerant, we are open, we are open to the world,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer told Sky after the game.
With their talisman and Bayern transfer target Kai Havertz ruled out with a muscle injury, Leverkusen turned to Alario to lead the line against the champions.
The Argentine delivered after just nine minutes, beating the offside trap after a throw-in to slot the ball past Neuer.
A mistake from Moussa Diaby allowed Coman to curl in the equaliser, before a fizzing shot from Goretzka and an elegant lob from Serge Gnabry saw Bayern take a two-goal lead before half-time.
Lewandowski finished the job with a well-placed header after the break, equalling his most prolific Bundesliga season, but there was still time for Wirtz to curl in a consolation goal for Leverkusen before the final whistle.
Wirtz set the new record for youngest scorer in the German top flight, aged 17 years and 34 days, beating the record set by Nuri Sahin for Borussia Dortmund in November 2005 by 48 days.
– Leipzig stutter at home –
Elsewhere, a late equaliser from Christian Strohdiek gave bottom-of-the-table Paderborn a faint glimmer of hope in the race for survival, as they snatched a 1-1 draw away to RB Leipzig.
Chelsea-bound Leipzig striker Timo Werner set up Patrik Schick on 27 minutes to give Leipzig the lead, but they were forced to defend it with 10 men after Dayot Upamecano was booked twice in the first half.
Strohdiek’s last-minute strike gave Paderborn their fourth draw in five games, though Steffen Baumgart’s side remain eight points off Fortuna Duesseldorf who occupy the relegation play-off place.
Duesseldorf themselves missed the chance to move towards safety, as they battled to a dramatic 2-2 draw against 10-man Hoffenheim.
A headed opener from Rouwen Hennings and a red card for Hoffenheim’s Benjamin Huebner put the home side in pole position, but the visitors struck back with goals from Munas Dabbur and Steven Zuber before Hennings saved a point with a late penalty.
Uwe Roesler’s side remain three points adrift of survival, after goals from Moussa Niakhate and Pierre Kunde Malong gave fellow strugglers Mainz a rare 2-0 win over local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.