Bayern Munich moved within two wins of the Bundesliga title on Saturday afternoon as they came from behind to beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at the BayArena.
Leverkusen broke the deadlock inside the opening 10 minutes, thanks to Lucas Alario's slick finish. He broke through the defence before slotting it past Manuel Neuer, with Bayer's valuable lead confirmed after a VAR check proved that he was just onside.
Bayern needed to crank up the gears, which paid off when Kingsley Coman drew them level before the half hour mark. Leon Goretzka played it through to the Frenchman, who coolly curled it into the far corner to draw the runaway leaders level in Leverkusen.
Out of nothing, Bayern worked the ball goal-bound and turned it around minutes before half-time. It was Leon Goretzka who pulled the trigger in front of goal, drilling into the bottom corner with a shot too hot to handle for Hrádecký, as Die Roten went ahead for the first time all afternoon.
Serge Gnabry was denied by a strong save from the Bayer keeper, but got his goal mere moments later. A long ball from the back fell to Gnabry, who lifted the ball up and over Hrádecký and into the back of the net.
The visitors added a fourth in the second half, as Robert Lewandowski finally got in on the action. It wouldn't be a trademark Bayern victory without the Pole's contribution, as he headed home brilliantly to make it four and take his Bundesliga season tally up to 30 goals.
Bayer got a consolation with two minutes to play, with a nicely-taken finish from Florian Wirtz. The 17-year-old came off the bench to score his first-ever Bundesliga goal, but it wasn't enough as Bayern saw out the three points and their ninth straight victory.
Starting XI: Hrádecký (5); Dragović (5), Bender (5), Tapsoba (5); Amiri (6), Baumgartlinger (5), Aránguiz (6), Bailey (5); Bellarabi (6), Alario (7*), Diaby (5).
Substitutes: Wirtz (7), Wendell (5), Demirbay (5), Paulinho (6), Volland (5).
For the only half-hour in which Leverkusen played well, Lucas Alario was a real handful up front. In the absence of superstar Kai Havertz, the Argentine assumed responsibility by opening the scoring with a nice finish and getting the hosts off to a magnificent start.
Alario's strike was the first league goal conceded by Neuer in 235 minutes - almost four hours of football. It was the peak of Bayer's afternoon, but a well-taken goal and valuable contribution from their frontman nonetheless.
Key Talking Point
Chasing a ninth straight Bundesliga win, Bayern Munich couldn't have started the game in worse fashion. Alario's breakthrough goal after 10 minutes put Die Roten behind for the first time since December. When that happened, they went on to win 6-1 against a sorry Werder Bremen, and the same comeback mentality was clearly evident as they fell behind in Leverkusen.
Bayern aren't the team to go down without a fight, with no doubting their will and hunger to get back into the game. They pushed hard and got a deserved equaliser from Coman, before the quality oozed and the floodgates opened for Hans-Dieter Flick's travelling squad. They were truly hitting their stride and having a field day, cutting the hosts open with every fluid attack.
Two goals in the last three minutes of the first half gave them breathing space, before Lewandowski's header wrapped it up. Bayern were outstanding from the moment the ball went into their net, proving their worth and blowing Bayer away with their attacking prowess. Granted, they shouldn't have been in the position to have to turn it around, but every bit of credit is deserved for going on to win it.
Bayern now move ten points clear of Borussia Dortmund - who play Hertha BSC on Saturday evening - and are just two wins away from winning their eighth straight Bundesliga title. The Meisterschaft shield is in touching distance for this incredible Bayern side, and the end goal is almost complete to further solidify their place in German football history.
Starting XI: Neuer (6); Pavard (6), Boateng (6), Alaba (6), Davies (6); Kimmich (7), Goretzka (8*); Coman (7), Müller (6), Gnabry (8); Lewandowski (7).
Substitutes: Martínez (6), Thiago (6), Perišić (6), Hernandez (N/A).
Often underrated and overlooked in a star-studded Bayern side, Leon Goretzka certainly had a game to remember. He got a goal and an assist in the first half, both beautiful in their own right. The assist was a piercing ball through to Coman for FCB's first, before hitting his shot into the bottom corner with such power and force.
Goretzka hasn't always got the credit he deserves, but he put in a superb performance in their 4-2 win in Leverkusen. A fantastic display from the German, who was crucial in securing the three points.
Bayer Leverkusen are back in action next Sunday, when they travel to the Veltins-Arena to face out-of-form Schalke. They host Köln at the BayArena midweek, as they hope to continue their pursuit of European football in style on 17 June.
Bayern Munich have an exciting clash at the Allianz, as they host Marco Rose's Borussia Mönchengladbach next Saturday. Die Roten are back on the road on 16 June, where they could secure their eighth consecutive Meisterschaft with a win at Werder Bremen.