Experience tells once again for Bayern, leaving Leipzig with food for thought | Bundesliga | DW | 13.05.2017
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Experience tells once again for Bayern, leaving Leipzig with food for thought

For this second time this season, Bayern Munich beat their closest challengers, this time in the most dramatic fashion. The way Leipzig collapsed from 4-2 up to 5-4 down shows they can learn something from the champions.

As Leipzig's dazed players ambled around the pitch after the final whistle, red and white ticker tape rained down from the sky to celebrate the last home game of RB's debut Bundesliga season.

But the hosts' party had already been spoiled by Bayern Munich, whose resurrection from 4-2 down on 84 minutes to 5-4 up at the final whistle really was the stuff of champions.

While the manner of defeat will have stung Leipzig, this was not even nearly as significant as their last loss to the Bavarians in December. That was when their unlikely title aspirations really started to come undone.

The build-up to Saturday's meeting of the two best sides in Germany featured a typically backhanded compliment from Uli Hoeness to Saturday's opponents. "When you sign older players, you will be a very serious opponent for us," the Bayern President revealed he'd told Dietrich Mateschitz, Leipzig's billionaire backer.

The home side got off to an incredible start, one that might have made a less obstinate man than Hoeness eat his words. Marcel Sabitzer - younger than all but one of the Bayern's starting eleven - left 35-year-old Xabi Alonso trailing in his wake to head in a second-minute opener of a game that, for the most part, appeared to be going only one way.

A youthful advantage

The eastern German side's narrow midfield, combined with the pace and energy of their front four, was too much for former Leipzig man Joshua Kimmich and in particular Alonso, who for the first time since he announced his retirement, played like he'd made the right decision.

Kimmich, who was removed in the second half, was one of only four Bayern starters under the age of 28 – all of Leipzig's outfield players were under that age. That a pragmatist such as Carlo Ancelotti named such a strong, experienced side should probably come as no shock but many felt this might have been a good chance to give the likes of Kingsley Coman and Renato Sanches some much needed game time against strong opposition.

For a long time the vigor and fearlessness of youth looked to be triumphing over the wisdom of experience. Timo Werner had stuck away a brace for his 20th and 21st goals of the season, one of which was aided by a rare error from another Bayern veteran Philipp Lahm.

But it was not to be. Robert Lewandowski gave Bayern hope in the 84th minute, David Alaba's superb free kick gave them parity in the first minute of second-half stoppage time and Arjen Robben's brilliant run and dink earned them three points just before the final whistle. The last two were the seventh and eighth goals Bayern have scored after the 90th minute this season.

Knowhow needed?

"An unbelievable game," said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl in his post match press conference. "We didn't win any points today, but we maybe won some support in the footballing world."

That may well be true, though there are plenty that will never offer RB Leipzig any sort of support. And while Borussia Dortmund's failure to get more than a point in Augsburg meant the result at Red Bull Arena was of no real consequence, it's clear that in the future it'll only be the points, not perfomance, that matter.

While it might not be wise to read too much in to a game Ancelotti described as "crazy" it was near impossible not to recall Hoeness' words in those last few minutes. Bayern had the experience to sense blood at 4-3, the resources to bring Thomas Müller and Arturo Vidal off the bench and the hard-earned knowhow and class of Robben to finish off their prey.

There's little reason for Leipzig to feel too disheartened. They've had a successful season and look as well set as anyone for the future. But perhaps the nature - and beneficiary - of their collapse might prompt a slight re-think of a transfer policy - concerned almost exclusively with youth - in favor of a little more focus in the present.