“O’zapft is” in Munich – but at FC Bayern they could neither toast to the league lead at the start of Oktoberfest nor wash down their ongoing anger over Leverkusen’s last-minute penalty with a pint of beer.

The missed jump to first place in the 2:2 (1:1) draw in the racy, emotional and highly entertaining top game of the Bundesliga against Bayer Leverkusen still had an impact on coach Thomas Tuchel, his players and the Bayern supporters.

The missed change at the top of the table on the 4th of 34 matchdays was something Bayern had to cope with. From the perspective of the Munich series champions, the more important finding of the test of strength was that there is a Bayer team maturing in Leverkusen under the guidance of coach Xabi Alonso that seems to be maturing into a real challenger in the title fight.

Tuchel has Bayer on the list as a Bayern hunter

“I don’t know who the main competitor is, but I’m definitely a competitor,” Leon Goretzka answered when asked whether the Leverkusen team was now the biggest competitor. In any case, Tuchel has Bayer on the list as a Bayern hunter, even if the Bundesliga season is “a marathon.” “Very good team, clear style, good coach,” said Tuchel appreciatively.

This coach, ex-Bayern professional Xabi Alonso, attested to his team’s “very mature performance” in the seething Munich arena after 15 sleepy opening minutes. The outstanding goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, who prevented several goals from being conceded with top reflexes, sounded the following after Bayer’s two-time comeback after falling behind in the catacombs: “We remain number one! We have passed the toughest endurance test! It was my eighth or ninth game here , but we’ve never played so convincingly here!”

“It could have been 5:5”

The 75,000 spectators were able to enjoy a high-intensity game with ups and downs, tons of scoring opportunities and several emotional turning points. “It could have ended 5:5,” said Leverkusen’s sports director Simon Rolfes enthusiastically.

The dramaturgy of the game with the late goals still created contrasts in the mood. Bayern were annoyed about the loss of home success, while Bayer was talking about a “perceived victory” (Jonas Hofmann). With ten points, the programmed title rivals are tied and still lead the league table undefeated.

Bayern striker Harry Kane’s 1-0 was canceled out by Bayer’s free-kick shooter Alejandro Grimaldo with a perfect shot. And Goretzka’s supposed winning goal in the 86th minute was made up for by Argentina’s world champion Exequiel Palacios deep in stoppage time with a penalty that collectively angered the Munich team.

Müller: “Very, very soft penalty”

Thomas Müller spoke of “a very, very soft penalty” after slight contact between Alphonso Davies and the grateful Hofmann in the penalty area. “Leverkusen will say, great referee whistle, clear foul. But we’re still playing contact sports,” grumbled Müller. Bayern’s new sports director Christoph Freund questioned the intervention of the video assistant, which only led to referee Daniel Schlager’s subsequent penalty decision. “The clear rule is that the video referee only intervenes when it is crystal clear,” argued the Austrian.

“Clear penalty. Period! There’s no need to make a big deal out of it,” countered Hofmann. He had cleverly adopted Davies’ impetuous defensive behavior. When looking at the TV images, referee Schlager “realized relatively quickly” that he was following the advice of video referee Matthias Jöllenbeck from the Cologne basement. Like Coach Tuchel, Bayern even struggled after the game with “two questionable decisions against us” because they also heavily doubted the free kick whistle before the 1-1 score after Müller’s fight for the ball with Grimaldo. “I argue for open sole,” complained Müller.

The whistles in front of Leverkusen’s goals were a matter of opinion. There was a broad consensus that it was a top game on equal terms. Tuchel spoke of “a fair result”, even if he noted, not wrongly: “If you score the opening goal so late, you can take three points from a fair draw.”