Bayer Leverkusen vs. Bayern Munich: Score, Reaction from 2016 Bundesliga Game

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2016

Leverkusen's midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu and Bayern Munich's Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben  vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match of Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Bayern Munich in Leverkusen, western Germany, on February 6, 2016.  / AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050
        (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Bayern Munich suffered a frustrating night at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, playing out a 0-0 goalless draw as Xabi Alonso was sent off at the BayArena.

Both teams failed with their best opportunities in attack, and Leverkusen richly deserved a share of the spoils after shutting down Bayern's midfield. 

Der FCB played their first match since coach Pep Guardiola was announced as the new Manchester City manager for next season, and the team appeared to be subdued for large spells of the contest.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Jerome Boateng, Mehdi Benatia and Javi Martinez were all absent for the visitors, with Joshua Kimmich partnering Holger Badstuber in Guardiola's defence. Arturo Vidal replaced Thomas Muller in the only change from the Hoffenheim match.

Tin Jedvaj replaced Roberto Hilbert in the Leverkusen defence in a solitary switch by coach Roger Schmidt from the recent win over Hannover.

The first half was a strange affair for the watching Bayern fans, as their team lacked motivation and direction. 

The hosts were content to do the hard running and pressing without the ball, but Bayern had no answer as they advanced up the pitch. highlighted how Guardiola's team struggled in a difficult first half:

Vidal found the pace testing in the centre as Leverkusen dictated territory, pushing the Bayern midfield back onto its heels.

Robert Lewandowski also struggled to take a foothold in the match, as the hosts kept a very close eye on the Poland international's movement.

ESPN FC's Cesar Hernandez gave credit to Kimmich's side as they pressurised the Bundesliga champions:

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Javier Hernandez had a chance to break the deadlock just before half-time, but as Badstuber shied away from a high ball, the Mexican striker was adjudged offside as he was played through. 

The first half ended without a shot on target from Guardiola's men, who looked very ordinary in their endeavours. 

Football writer Jonathan Harding pointed towards the performance of Vidal in midfield:

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Chicharito almost opened the second half with a magnificent strike from distance, but he watched his dipping volley swerve away from 'keeper Manuel Neuer's goal, almost hitting Muller as he warmed up as a sub.

Arjen Robben had a decent opportunity to create a goal soon after, picking the ball up on the halfway line and sprinting past three defenders.

A last-gasp tackle from Wendell denied the Dutchman a clear shot, as the referee refused Bayern calls for a foul. 

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The game had started to swing in the favour of Leverkusen, as Der FCB continued to look a shadow of themselves.

Guardiola was forced into tactical changes by his team's failures and brought on Muller. The Germany international nearly made the perfect impact as he met two individual chances in the box. However, the attacker fluffed his lines on both occasions, shooting wide. 

Harding questioned Guardiola's decision to bench his prolific forward:

Muller's appearance had a dramatic effect on the game in the closing 20 minutes, as Bayern's threat increased dramatically. 

Guardiola's men suddenly appeared to want the win and began to flood forward as the hosts tired.

However, Bayern were stopped in their tracks in the closing moments of the game as Alonso saw red for a second bookable offence.

Referee Knut Kircher shows the red card to Bayern Munich's Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso (R) during the German first division Bundesliga football match of Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Bayern Munich in Leverkusen, western Germany, on February 6, 2016.  / AFP / P

The Spaniard was harshly adjudged to have fouled Chicharito, as the referee flashed a second yellow. 

Leverkusen attempted one last push in an attempt to steal all three points, but Bayern successfully retreated and kept their shape.

A goalless draw was a fair result as the final whistle blew, but many will connect Bayern's mediocrity with Guardiola's departure announcement.

The reigning champions have not looked so average for many months, but Leverkusen deserve huge credit for their work and aggression. 


Post-Match Reaction

Guardiola chose to praise his defence on a difficult night at the BayArena, highlighting the threat of the hosts, per Dein Sky Sport (h/t the Bundesliga's official Twitter feed):

Leverkusen are back in league action on Saturday, Feb. 13 when they travel to Darmstadt 98. Bayern feature on the following day against FC Augsburg away.