Leverkusen ties Bayern to stay atop in Bundesliga

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

Berlin, September 16 (IANS): Exequiel Palacios' late equaliser helped Bayer Leverkusen snatch one point at Bayern following a fast-paced four-goal thriller at the curtain raiser of the fourth round.

The Bavarians caught a perfect start on home soil as new arrival Harry Kane opened the scoring after heading home Leroy Sane's deflected cross at the far post with only seven minutes gone, reports Xinhua.

Leverkusen responded well and restored parity in the 24th minute when Alejandro Grimaldo drilled a free kick from 16 meters over the wall into the top right corner to stun the hosts.

The "Werkself" gained momentum and kept Bayern's defense busy as Victor Boniface forced goalkeeper Sven Ulreich into action at the half-hour mark before pulling wide from a promising position a moment later.

Boniface remained in the thick of things and thought he had made it 2-1 but his goal was ruled offside in the 33rd minute.

Bayern nearly took the lead again, but Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was on guard, denying Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry in quick succession.

Hradecky had his hands full of work but neither Sane, Leon Gortezka nor Gnabry was able to beat Leverkusen's goalkeeper despite promising opportunities in the closing period of the first half.

After the restart, Bayern should have grabbed the lead, but Kane couldn't beat Hradecky in a one-on-one.

The front runners still posed a threat as Florian Wirtz exchanged passes with Boniface and rattled the right post from inside the box in the 78th minute.

Leverkusen increased the pressure two minutes later after Boniface tested Ulreich with a close-range attempt.

Bayern then flabbergasted the visitors against the run of the play in the 86th minute when Goretzka latched onto Mathys Tel's cutback pass to make it 2-1.

Leverkusen had the last laugh though and secured a share of the spoils after Alphonso Davies felled Jonas Hofmann inside the box. Palacios stepped up and converted the subsequent penalty to stun the German giants in the dying seconds of the game.

With the result, Bayer Leverkusen defended its top spot while Bayern stayed in second position.

"It was a complicated game for us. We had golden chances in the closing stages of the first half. We thought we had the lucky punch but then we dropped points because of a VAR penalty decision in the closing stages," said Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel.

"It was an intense game by both sides. We needed some time to get into the flow. We grew into the game and created pressure. It was a tight game until the end, but we fought. The stalemate is good for us of course," said Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso.