By defeating Bayern Munich 3-0, Bayer Leverkusen moved five points clear of the leaders in the Bundesliga title race.
The game’s standout, Alejandro Grimaldo, doubled Leverkusen’s lead after halftime with a goal after the break, after first-half goals from Bayern loanee Josip Stanisic, the only team remaining unbeaten in Europe. In stoppage time, substitute Jeremie Frimpong scored a third goal from long range after Manuel Neuer missed the target.
“We started well but then errors started creeping in,” said Bayern coach Tuchel, whose team face Lazio in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday. “I don’t have an explanation for why we did not get Harry more involved in the game.”
Leverkusen, led by head coach Xabi Alonso, who is widely seen as the favourite to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, passed their toughest test to yet and advanced the team towards their first league title.
“It was a very important win but it is just three points,” said Alonso. “We have to keep going. It is still February and we need to remain calm.”
Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel: “We started well but then errors started creeping in. We were not able to carve out any chances, even later in the game when we had five or six attacking players. I don’t have an explanation for why we did not get Harry more involved in the game.”
Bayern Munich striker Harry Kane: “We didn’t play well with the ball. We pressed well but when we got it we seemed to give it back to them. That allowed them to build momentum. In the final third we weren’t good in the one-vs-one battles or the duels. The final delivery wasn’t there. A really disappointing day with the ball.
“We’re five points behind but there’s lots of games to go. This one hurts, we wanted a different outcome but we have to focus on the Champions League and make up as many points as we can in the league as quick as we can.
“That’s not for us to decide [if Leverkusen are title favourites], that’s for everyone else to decide. We have to improve. We have to get better. The games are coming thick and fast so we have to turn it around quickly.”
Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso: “Today it was a very disciplined performance from my team. It was not easy but we waited for our chances. Maybe we did not have the ball too much today but we wanted to be dominant even without the ball.
“It was a very important win but it is just three points. We have to keep going. It is still February and we need to remain calm.”
Leverkusen travel to Hedenheim next on Saturday while Bayern face Lazio in the Champions League on Wednesday before facing Bochum on Sunday.
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