Bayer Leverkusen 0 Bayern Munich 0: Misfiring Muller costs reigning champions
Bayern Munich had to settle for a scoreless draw with Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena as Thomas Muller missed two gilt-edged chances to secure three points.
The Germany international started the match from the bench, but came on for Arjen Robben on the hour mark and got two huge chances to break the deadlock within 10 minutes of his entrance.
Muller first volleyed over the crossbar after being set up by Kingsley Coman, only to then fire wide a few minutes later after some good work from Douglas Costa.
Leverkusen had done well to keep the reigning champions quiet until Muller's arrival, with Roger Schmidt's tactical plan to press Bayern high up the pitch causing them all kinds of trouble.
The hosts did not create many chances themselves, though, with only Hakan Calhanoglu really coming close on two occasions after the break.
There was a late red card for Xabi Alonso when he got his second yellow for a foul on Javier Hernandez, but the Spaniard's dismissal did not affect the outcome of the game.
Bayern remain eight points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table following their draw against Hertha Berlin.
Omer Toprak came close to opening the scoring after 11 minutes when he beat Joshua Kimmich to the ball after Calhanoglu's corner from the right, but Manuel Neuer was on hand to keep the Leverkusen skipper’s header out.
Bayern struggled to create any chances of note as they were pressed relentlessly, with Neuer often forced to hit it long from the back.
Coman threatened down the left after collecting one of those long balls, sprinting past Jonathan Tah before trying to find Robert Lewandowski in the middle, but Bernd Leno did well to rush off his line and deflect the ball wide for a corner.
The subsequent set-piece fell to Arjen Robben on the edge of the area, only for the Dutchman to volley harmlessly wide with his weaker right foot.
Calhanoglu nearly surprised Neuer with an opportunistic long-range strike shortly after the interval, but the Turkey international's attempt went inches wide.
The attacking midfielder again looked dangerous a couple of minutes later after a low cross from Wendell, but he saw his goal-bound shot blocked wide for a corner by Kimmich.
Robben felt he should have been awarded a free-kick after he was brought down by Wendell when clean through on goal, but referee Knut Kircher waved play on.
Bayern should have broken the deadlock 64th minute when Coman found the unmarked Muller with a sublime cross, but the substitute volleyed over the crossbar from six yards out.
Muller got another chance shortly after following some good work from Douglas Costa down the left, yet he once more failed to get his shot on target as the chance went begging.
Pep Guardiola's men dominated proceedings in the closing stages of the game and could have gotten a late winner via Lewandowski, but the Poland international aimed just wide.
Bayern were reduced to 10 men late on when Alonso received his second booking, but Bayer were unable to take advantage, though the point did push them up to fifth.
Key Opta Stats:
- Bayern Munich managed only one shot on target in the whole match – the fewest since November 2010, when they also had just one against the same opponent.
- Xabi Alonso was sent off for the first time in his Bundesliga.
- Pep Guardiola has never won a competitive match in normal time against Bayer Leverkusen with Bayern.
- Bayern’s passing accuracy against Leverkusen stood at only 77.1 per cent – a record low for Bayern in the 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign.
- Bayern’s captain Philipp Lahm made his 350th appearance in the Bundesliga. Only Claudio Pizarro (Werder Bremen), Stefan Kiessling (Leverkusen) and Christian Schulz (Hannover) have more among all active Bundesliga players.