Leon Goretzka Knows He Better Listen When Lewandowski Says Get Out Of The Way

Leon Goretzka had already scored once, a well-taken strike from the edge of the box. With a chance to double his tally, he suddenly ducked out of the way of a header. 

It was, of course, the correct decision.

Goretzka dropped his head at the last second to allow Robert Lewandowski to head home his 30th goal of the Bundesliga campaign as Bayern Munich shook off an early deficit to score four straight on the way to a 4-2 victory at BayArena on Saturday.

Lucas Alario gave the home side a lead in the ninth minute but Kingsley Coman, Goretzka and Serge Gnabry all found the back of the net before halftime. Lewandowski, thanks to Goretzka heeding his call to get out of the way, made it 4-1 in the 66th minute before Bayern went into cruise control. The lone bright spot for Leverkusen was a late consolation goal from Florian Wirtz, who turned 17 a month ago Wednesday.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich Highlights

Before the match, Bayern Munich players wore shirts saying Rot Gegen Rassismus (Reds Against Racism) and #BlackLivesMatter in a show of support for the protests sweeping the U.S. and the world following the murder of George Floyd.

But Bayern found itself trailing when Alario managed to just stay onside before finishing at Manuel Neuer’s near post. The assistant referee raised his flag for offside, but the VAR interjected and gave Leverkusen the goal.

The timely strike looked like it might breathe new life into both the title race and top-four race, which had looked unlikely as Leverkusen’s leading striker Kai Havertz watched the match from the stands injured. A Bayern loss would’ve allowed Borussia Dortmund to close the gap to four points later in the day.

But by the halftime whistle, Leverkusen’s hopes of getting anything out of the match were all but extinguished.

First, Goretzka won the ball and quickly played Coman in behind the Bayer defense. Coman burst onto the ball and set himself up for a FIFA-esque finish to equalize in the 27th minute.

Bayern then scored two goals in the five minutes before the halftime whistle.

With Leverkusen pushing for a second, Munich countered in the most bamboozling fashion, switching the ball repeatedly before Goretzka drove home a goal from 20 yards out. 

A few minutes later, Gnabry made it 3-1 with a lovely chip, one that came so quickly the production crew missed it. The announcers, not in the stadium, had little clue as to what happened, as a long pass from Joshua Kimmich completely negated Bayer’s entire defense.

I feel now is as good a time as any to once again point out how little effort Fox has put into Bundesliga broadcasts since ESPN won the rights to broadcasting the German league starting next season. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Fox has not once shown any sort of pregame or postgame show, an insult to all American soccer fans. Admittedly though, they do such a poor job when they do try hard, it’s almost better to watch Copper Wear commercials than one of the FS1 studio shows.

Leverkusen made three changes at halftime in hopes of switching things up. But it was none other than Lewandowski who supplied the finishing touch. 

Thomas Müller lofted a delightful cross into the box and so haphazard was the Leverkusen defense that Goretzka and Lewandowski had an opportunity to put their heads to it. Goretzka wisely listened to Lewa’s call to leave it and the match was effectively over.

While jogging over to thank Müller for the assist, Lewandowski also pointed to Goretzka, knowing he was just as vital to the goal.

The header gave Lewandowski 44 in all competitions this season. With 30 goals, he’s 10 shy of Gerd Müller’s single-season record — conceivably attainable but not easy.

More likely is Müller setting the Bundesliga’s single-season assists record. With two on Saturday he moved to 20 on the campaign, one shy of Kevin de Bruyne’s all-time mark.

Sadly for fans of Bayern and history, both Müller and Lewandowski will be suspended for Bayern’s next match against Borussia Monchengladbach next Saturday after both received yellow cards against Bayer.

Just before full time, Wirtz became the youngest goal scorer in the history of the Bundesliga when he scored a lovely curler past Neuer.

Not a bad way to score your first professional goal, against arguably the greatest goalkeeper in your country’s history. But it was never going to be enough to worry the defending champions on Saturday.

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