Ribery on target as Bayern Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen

22

Bayern Munich survived a stern test from Bayer Leverkusen to restore their seven-point advantage at the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-0 win at the Allianz Arena. Leverkusen made life difficult for the league leaders in the first half but, after Franck Ribery put Bayern in front, they wasted chances to win more handsomely. The three points nevertheless give Bayern a sizeable cushion over Wolfsburg in second place while Leverkusen slip 13 points adrift, also dropping to fourth in the table behind Augsburg. It was a largely one-sided first half, although unlike most of the time when Bayern are involved, it was they who were up against it. Leverkusen, led by Roger Schmidt, whose Salzburg side beat Bayern 3-0 in a friendly in January, seemed to know how to hurt the record champions, who have been playing in a league of their own for the past two and a half seasons. The visitors almost took the lead when Karim Bellarabi was put through with only Manuel Neuer to beat. The Germany international beat the Ballon d'Or candidate with a neat chip, but Juan Bernat was covering behind his custodian to clear the ball a yard before it crossed the line. Leverkusen continued to have the best chances with Stefan Kiessling wasting the next best one on the half-hour mark, making a mess of a cross intended for Son Heung-min when he only had Neuer in front of him. Arjen Robben and Son had goals disallowed for offside with the latter decision a marginal one, but Bayern then found their feet. Rafinha's cross was headed back across goal by Xabi Alonso and Ribery was on hand to volley in his 100th goal for Bayern. Relief was the dominant feeling inside the Allianz Arena and the goal took the wind out of Leverkusen's sails with Bayern rediscovering their usual form. Thomas Muller nearly added a second when his cross was turned onto his own post by Bernd Leno before Robert Lewandowski missed uncharacteristically from only a few yards out, volleying wide of an open goal when Tin Jedvaj headed his cross back towards him. A second goal was not ultimately required, though, as Bayern held on for the points.