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Bayern dominate but leaders Bayer cling on

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Bayern dominate but leaders Bayer cling on

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:00 pm

Bayern were frustrated at home by increasingly defensive visitors for the second time in a row as undefeated Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen held out for a point in Sunday's big game, a match which started well but declined in quality with every passing minute.

The 69,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Mario Gomez and Stefan Keißling trade goals in the first quarter of an hour, after which the game took on an absorbing character with spells of dominance for both teams.

The play turned scrappy after the interval before Bayern seized the initiative in the closing stages as the visitors shut up shop, but Bayer keeper Rene Adler performed heroics to deny Gomez five minutes from time and Munich were forced to settle for a point at the end.

Bayern boss Louis van Gaal had planned to rest Miro Klose after the striker's absence from squad training for most of the week, but with intended starters Luca Toni and Hamit Altintop both pulling out injured, the Germany man duly partnered Gomez in attack.

That was the only change to the team held 1-1 by Schalke last time out, with Holger Badstuber continuing at left-back and Martin Demichelis lining up alongside Daniel van Buyten at centre-half. Neither Arjen Robben nor Franck Ribery was fit enough for a place in the matchday squad.

Once play began after a minute's silence in memory of deceased Germany keeper Robert Enke, the crowd was treated to a lively opening spell with the better start for Bayern.

Just eight minutes were on the clock when Bastian Schweinsteiger fed Klose 25 yards from goal. Daniel Schwaab fouled the striker but referee Knut Kircher played a good advantage, allowing Gomez to stride onto the loose ball and net with the outside of his left boot.

Klose elected to pass when a shot might have been the better option as FCB went for the jugular, but in the event, the lead lasted only six minutes as Kießling latched onto Arturo Vidal's long pass and stepped inside Van Buyten before firing past Jörg Butt's left hand to level the scores.

The leaders bossed play for a spell after the equaliser. Tranquillo Barnetta fired wide and Kießling had the ball in the net from a delightful Toni Kroos back-heel only to be ruled a fraction offside, before Butt reacted well to beat out the in-form goal-getter's next effort.

Kroos drew a good diving save from Butt on the half-hour, and that seemed to inspire the home side into a promising rally before the break. Kroos nicked the ball off Thomas Müller's toe as the FCB man shaped to shoot, Demichelis headed just over the bar, and Bayer keeper Adler saved capably from Badstuber and then brilliantly from Anatoliy Tymoshchuk as the Ukraine midfielder fired in the last chance of the half.

The half-time break seemed to knock both teams out of their stride for a while after the restart, before Philipp Lahm's cross on 64 minutes finally caused pandemonium in the Leverkusen box, Adler grabbing the loose ball at the second attempt.

Kießling slid a drive wide as the action switched to the other end, before Van Gaal went for fresh impetus twenty minutes from time with the introduction of Ivica Olic for his first appearance since early October, the Croat taking over from Müller.

Bayern comfortably held the upper hand going into the closing stages as Jupp Heynckes' side opted to drop deep. There was a rare outing for Alex Baumjohann for the last fifteen minutes, the midfield talent replacing the tiring Klose, and FCB now poured forward only for Gomez to steer a Lahm cross inches wide of the far post.

Adler pulled out a stunning reaction save to block Gomez' back-heel from point-blank range after great work down the right from Schweinsteiger, and frustrated FCB were unable to prise apart the packed Bayer defence before the final whistle.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley
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