Bayern Munich crush Bayer Leverkusen to stay firmly on title course

Bayern Munich came from a goal down to ease past hosts Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 on Saturday and remain firmly on course to retain the Bundesliga title with four games remaining.

The Bavarians are within touching distance of their eighth consecutive league crown and have also set a league record with 90 goals after 30 match days.

Bayer Leverkusen’s 17-year-old Florian Wirtz stole some of the spotlight at the end, becoming the youngest Bundesliga scorer when he netted in the 89th minute.

Lucas Alario fired the hosts into the lead after 10 minutes as Bayer Leverkusen, without the injured Kai Havertz, scored with the first chance of the game.

But Bayern Munich recovered from the early shock.

Kingsley Coman curled in the equaliser in the 28th minute before the visitors struck twice in three minutes to turn the game around.

Leon Goretzka completed a sensational passing move in the 42nd minute and Serge Gnabry chipped the ball over goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky on the stroke of halftime.

Bundesliga top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski headed in Thomas Mueller’s 20th assist of the season.

Lewandowski took his tally to 30 league goals but is still 10 shy of the all-time league record of 40 set by Gerd Mueller in 1971-1972.

Both he and Mueller were booked and will have to sit out their next game against Borussia Moenchengladbach.

“We needed a bit of time to get into the game and the goal was a wake-up call for us,” said Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick, whose team has won 23 of the 26 matches since he took over earlier this season.

“The way we came back from a goal down shows the attitude and mentality of the team.”

It was Bayern Munich’s ninth straight win, but there was also some cheer for Bayer Leverkusen in spite of their setback in the race for a UEFA Champions League spot.

German youth international Wirtz made a name for himself with a superb 89th minute strike past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

It made him the youngest Bundesliga scorer at 17 years and 34 days.

Borussia Dortmund’s 1-0 win over Hertha Berlin later means Bayern Munich lead the table from Borussia Dortmund by seven points.

RB Leipzig are third, 11 points behind, after conceding a last-gasp equaliser in their 1-1 draw with bottom club Paderborn.

Bayer Leverkusen stayed fifth.

In other matches, Mainz beat hosts Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 while Dusseldorf drew 2-2 with visiting Hoffenheim.(Reuters/NAN)