Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga summit, Ingolstadt see off Leverkusen | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 18.12.2016
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Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga summit, Ingolstadt see off Leverkusen

Douglas Costa's strike was the difference between Darmstadt and Bayern Munich in the early fixture. Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen were booed off the field by their own fans after losing 2-1 to Ingolstadt.

Darmstadt 0-1 Bayern Munich
(Costa 71')

A moment of individual brilliance from Douglas Costa secured three points for Bayern Munich at Darmstadt and restored their spot at the top of the league. Costa's strike was worthy of winning any game, and it proved to be enough for the Bavarians who were forced to sweat against bottom-of-the-table Darmstadt.

The Lillies, who had lost their six previous league games, started with tenacity and energy in front of their own fans and put Manuel Neuer to the test in the early minutes. Jan Rosenthal and Jerome Gondorf both had pot shots at goal.

This season, Carlo Ancelotti's men have found it hard to break down sturdy teams in the Bundesliga and without Arjen Robben (injured), the champions lacked a certain threat. The clearest sight of goal for Bayern was Mats Hummels' header on the half-hour mark from Thiago's free kick. Just a few yards from goal, the center-back ought to have done better, but there were strong claims for a penalty.

As Darmstadt tired, the visitors controlled the tempo without the same intensity from their opponents as in the first period. Robert Lewandowski missed a great chance on 50 minutes, but it was a matter of time before one of Bayern's stars decided the game. Costa had largely been on the periphery until he demanded a quick pass from a free-kick and proceeded to emphatically smash the ball into the top corner.

In a similarly emphatic sense, it was a hammer blow to Ramon Berndroth's side who had arguably earned a point for their efforts. They couldn't equalize late on despite the best chance of the game. Jerome Gondorf's free kick, from around 20 yards out, was parried clear by Neuer directly into the path of Peter Niemeyer, but the Darmstadt defender agonizingly saw his instinctive header clutched by the Bayern keeper on the line.

Once again, Ancelotti's team relied on a spectacular moment from an individual to get through and take three points. On Wednesday, the champions will be put to the test when they host RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena, the eagerly-awaited clash between the two pace setters in the Bundesliga this season.

Deutschland Bayer 04 Leverkusen gegen FC Ingoltstadt (picture alliance/dpa/R. Weihrauch)

US international Morales heads Ingolstadt ahead in Leverkusen

Leverkusen 1-2 Ingolstadt
(Mehmedi 63' - Morales  26', Cohen 74')

FC Ingolstadt secured back-to-back victories in the Bundesliga for the first time this season with a 2-1 triumph over ten-man Bayer Leverkusen. 

In just their second-ever Bundesliga season, Ingolstadt have taken two impressive scalps in the last week, ending RB Leipzig's unbeaten run last Saturday. Goals from Alfredo Morales and Almog Cohen lift Ingolstadt out of the automatic relegation spots and into 16th place. After sacking Markus Kauczinski last month, recent results under Maik Walpurgis suggest Ingolstadt have the stomach to fight off relegation.

A week after beating Leipzig, Ingolstadt carried the same tempo and directness into Sunday's visit to Leverkusen. Morales' powerful header was more than their just rewards for dominating the first half. 

After leaving the field to a chorus of whistles at the break, head coach Roger Schmidt tweaked his plan with Julian Brandt and Wendell replacing Julian Baumgartlinger and Danny da Costa.

Deutschland Bayer 04 Leverkusen gegen FC Ingoltstadt Rote karte für Aranguiz (Getty Images/Bongarts/M. Hitij)

Aranguiz will now miss Leverkusen's trip to Cologne

Leverkusen slump continues

Just minutes after Schmidt withdrew one of his holding midfielders, the other, Charles Aranguiz, picked up his second yellow card for a careless collision and was sent off.

A second goal would have all-but killed the contest, yet Ingolstadt's chance-conversion rate has been a thorn in their side this year. Bernd Leno reacted brilliantly to claw out Marcel Tisserand's point-blank header - one that would have certainly found the net had it not been for the Leverkusen keeper.

On the hour mark, Leno was scrambling once again but managed to put enough pressure on Almog Cohen who passed up a stunning chance from the edge of the area. 

Leverkusen duly equalized two minutes later, with Brandt's tireless effort forcing a mistake from Roger inside his own box. The young German winger then picked out Mehmedi who had the simple task of slotting past the keeper and into an empty net.

But Ingolstadt weren't deterred and continued to create chance after chance. Though Leno denied Sonny Kittel on several occasions, Cohen held his nerve to confidently slot home to send the visitors away with three points. Leverkusen, now with one league win in five, lie ninth and seven points off fourth place.

Relive all the action from Saturday as it happened in our live blog below:

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