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Berlin, March 20 – Bayer Leverkusen’s Exequiel Palacios scored twice from the penalty spot to upset Bayern Munich with a 2-1 comeback win in the Bundesliga.
The Werkself staged a lively opening period and kept Bayern goalkeeper Yann Sommer busy, but neither Kerem Demirbay nor Jeremie Frimpong was able to break the deadlock on Sunday night.
It was the Bavarians who opened the scoring out of thin air and with their first attempt on target, as Joshua Kimmich’s deflected effort caught Leverkusen custodian Lukas Hradecky flat-footed with 22 minutes gone.
Chances were at a premium for the remainder of the first half as Leverkusen were stunned while the visitors lacked in penetration, a Xinhua report said.
Leverkusen took the reins after the restart as VAR intervened in the 55th minute when Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard stepped onto Amine Adli’s heel inside the box. Palacios kept his cool from the spot and sent Sommer the wrong way before slotting the equalizer into the bottom-left corner.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men had problems creating momentum, but Jamal Musisla pulled narrowly wide following a solo run inside the box in the 68th minute.
Leverkusen were awarded another penalty in the 73rd minute when VAR penalized Dayot Upamecano’s foul on Adli. Palacios stepped up again and drilled the ball into the bottom-left corner to turn the tides.
The record German champions pressed frenetically, knowing that a draw would keep them atop the Bundesliga standings, but Leverkusen’s well-positioned defence held firm to secure all three points on home soil.
With the result, Bayern dropped to second place in the standings, one point behind Borussia Dortmund, whom they play in Munich on the next matchday on April 1.
“It is a deserved loss. We were the weaker side today. We lacked power and didn’t play well overall. It was a sluggish performance. We must beat Dortmund in the top clash otherwise it’s going to be tough to win the Bundesliga,” said Nagelsmann.
Elsewhere, Union Berlin returned to winning ways and jumped into the top three after beating Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 courtesy of second-half goals from Rani Khedira and Kevin Behrens, while Karim Onisiwo’s last-gasp equalizer helped Mainz share the spoils with Freiburg in a 1-1 draw.