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Bundesliga: Bayern back to winning ways with labored victory over Leverkusen

Bayern Munich returned to winning ways after two straight defeats with a 2-1 success at home to Bayer Leverkusen. The champions stay three points behind surprise leaders RB Leipzig after 12 matches.

Bayern Munich 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen

(Alcantara 30', Hummels 56' - Calhanoglu 35')

Leverkusen made a lively start at the Allianz Arena and Admir Mehmedi went close to opening the scoring as early as the second minute.

Bayern should have been ahead in the 19th minute when the energetic Douglas Costa clipped the ball to the far post but an unmarked Joshua Kimmich headed straight at Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The champions did take the lead on the half hour when Leno saved Phillipp Lahm’s initial effort and the ball looped up kindly for Thiago Alcantara. It was a simple task for the Spain midfielder to head into the net.

Leno denied Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski three minutes later before a neat move pulled Leverkusen level.

Hakan Calhanoglu exchanged passes with Julian Brandt before cracking a superb angled shot high past Manuel Neuer.

Bayern restored their lead from a Kimmich corner 11 minutes into the second half. Mats Hummels was left unmarked and he sent a thumping header past Leno.

Leverkusen,who qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League midweek but have had an erratic domestic season, refused to capitulate and a mistake from Javi Martinez almost let in substitute Kevin Volland eight minutes from time.

Deutschland Bayern München v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Getty Images/Bongarts/M. Müller)

Calhanoglu beats Neuer after neat move

Volland was able to lift the ball over Neuer but could only send his follow-up header into the side netting under pressure from Martinez. The incident was controversial as the ball appeared to brush the Spain international's arm on its way out of play.

Leverkusen had a free kick in added time in a dangerous position but Neuer saved Calhanoglu’s effort comfortably.

Upstarts Leipzig

It was hardly the scintillating performance Bayern fans may have hoped for following defeats to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Rostov in the Champions League but kept the German giants in touch with upstarts Leipzig, who they play next month in Munich and who won 4-1 at Freiburg on Friday.

"Sometimes during the season there are times when it's better to win than to play well," Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti told German television. "The previous two matches were not good and there was a reaction from the team. I congratulate Leipzig on a great season but what counts is who is top at the end."

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