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Leverkusen move five points clear in Bundesliga title race with victory over Bayern

Bayer Leverkusen moved five points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table with a three-goal victory over Bayern Munich.

It is a result that maintains Leverkusen’s unbeaten league run this campaign and inflicts a third Bundesliga loss of the season on Bayern, who remain second.

Josip Stanisic — on a season-long loan deal from Bayern — opened the scoring for the hosts in the 18th minute following a period of sustained pressure.

It was a first goal of the season for right wing-back Stanisic, who was selected ahead of Jeremie Frimpong by Xabi Alonso for the fixture.

Stanisic provided the close-range finish after Robert Andrich’s low cross went right across the face of goal to find the German international at the far post.

Alex Grimaldo doubled the Leverkusen advantage five minutes after the break, with a near-post finish past Manuel Neuer.

It was an eighth goal of the season for the attack-minded wing-back — who has also provided nine assists — in the Bundesliga this campaign, and came as Bayern had pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser.

Frimpong came on as a 65th minute substitute and the Netherlands international produced a long-range finish to add a third goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Bayern have won each of the most recent 11 Bundesliga titles while Leverkusen — who have been runners-up on five occasions in the past three decades — have never won the German top-flight.

Leverkusen take control of title race as Tuchel plan backfires

Analysis from The Athletic’s Bundesliga correspondent Raphael Honigstein.

Bayer Leverkusen are in control of the title race after making light work of a hapless Bayern Munich side.

Five points clear at the top and 31 games unbeaten in all competitions, Xabi Alonso’s men, superbly organised off the ball and very efficient on it, will grow in belief that this will be the year they can finally win their first league title.

Jeremie Frimpong’s third goal in stoppage time turned a serene victory into a humiliation. Disquiet well descend upon Munich after this embarrassing no-show in coming days.

Thomas Tuchel’s big idea, a 3-4-3 system designed to mirror Leverkusen’s set-up, backfired spectacularly. Bayern were so focused on negating their opponent’s strengths that they lost of all their own.

They hardly had meaningful possession in the first half, and forced to chase the game in the second, aimless crosses into the box were all they could muster. This was more than a painful set-back for their title ambitions. A performance so poor will put Tuchel’s future at the club in doubt.

Why was kick-off delayed?

There was a small delay to the game getting underway.

Leverkusen fans threw hundreds of pieces of candy onto the pitch ahead of kick-off, in protest against outside investment into the Bundesliga with both sets of fans making derogatory chants against the league.

Leverkusen fans threw hundreds of small items onto the pitch ahead of kick-off (Leon Kuegeler/Getty Images)

This was the latest episode in a wider protest against the league securing outside investment deals.

The German Football League (DFL) are set to sell an eight per cent share of its TV and marketing rights in a 20-year agreement worth a potential €1billion.

A previous proposal to give an outsider investor a 12.5 per cent stake was voted down in May, but 24 of 36 clubs from Germany’s top divisions — the Bundesliga and the 2. Bundesliga — gave a reworked plan their backing in December.

(ANP via Getty Images)

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