To win the Bundesliga for a record-extending seventh straight season, Bayern Munich will have to do something it’s never done before. And that’s thanks in part to its own clumsiness.
With an opportunity to cut into Borussia Dortmund’s lead atop the table, Bayern fell flat in the second half and lost 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen. The opportunity presented itself as Dortmund drew 1-1 away to Eintracht Frankfurt, which itself is right in the thick of the race for a Champions League spot.
So instead of losing ground, Dortmund is now seven points clear of its Der Klassiker rival with 14 matches left. Bayern has never overcome such a large deficit this late into a season to win the title. Let’s revisit how it all went down.
Christian Pulisic played the majority of the second half for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. (EFE)
MoreChristian Pulisic comes on but Dortmund can’t find a winner
Marco Reus scored midway through the first half, tucking home a left-footed shot off a pass by Raphael Guerreiro, and Dortmund looked to be off and running in a challenging away fixture (via FOX Sports):
But Luka Jovic answered by steering home a cross in the 36th minute, his fourth goal in five games:
Luka Jovic can’t stop scoring!
His Bundesliga-leading 14th goal of the season secured Frankfurt a point today against 1st-place Dortmund. pic.twitter.com/swbi6LXw0P
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 2, 2019
American winger Christian Pulisic came on for Jadon Sancho in the 65th minute, the most playing time he’s received since starting against Fortuna Dusseldorf on Dec. 18. Pulisic has fallen down the pecking order at Dortmund since his summer transfer to Chelsea was announced a month ago, with manager Lucien Favre preferring to feature players who factor into the club’s long-term plans.
A goal would have helped Pulisic’s case on Saturday, but it wasn’t to be despite his side peppering Frankfurt’s goal with chances in the second half. Roman Burkl stood tall in Dortmund’s net to preserve the draw, making six saves.
Frankfurt is currently fifth in the table, so a point isn’t the worst result for Dortmund. Especially when Bayern gets waxed.
Bayern comes up short at Bayer Leverkusen yet again
For the fifth time in its last six league visits to the BayArena, Bayern failed to win, this time folding under a three-goal avalanche in the second half to wipe out Leon Goretzka’s first-half header.
Leon Bailey’s equalizer in the 53rd minute was the nicest goal, a clean-struck curler that Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich likely never had a chance of saving:
Kevin Volland put the home side up 10 minutes later by finishing from close range, and Lucas Alario sealed the three points with a goal in the 87th minute.
Alphonso Davies, the 18-year-old Canadian who joined Bayern from Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps last month, replaced the ineffective James Rodriguez in the 77th minute but couldn’t make a difference on this day.
It remains to be seen if this day makes the ultimate difference in the Bundesliga title race.
Other Bundesliga scores
FC Nurnberg 1-1 Werder BremenHertha BSC 0-1 VFL Wolfsburg1899 Hoffenheim 1-1 Fortuna DusseldorfHannover 96 0-3 RB Leipzig (from Friday)
Joey Gulino is the editor of Yahoo Soccer and moonlights as a writer. Follow him on Twitter at @JGulinoYahoo.
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