Soccer-Bayern smash five past Leverkusen to reclaim top spot in Bundesliga

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich - BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany - October 17, 2021 Bayer Leverkusen's Jonathan Tah , Odilon Kossounou and Patrik Schick look dejected after the match REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video.

LEVERKUSEN (Reuters) -Bayern Munich thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 on Sunday as Julian Nagelsmann's side ran riot and silenced a stunned BayArena, scoring all five goals by halftime to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga from Borussia Dortmund.

A brace each from Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry moved Bayern up to 19 points, one point ahead of Dortmund while Leverkusen remain third with 16.

Bayern took the lead with just three minutes on the clock from a set piece when an unmarked Dayot Upamecano crossed the ball into the six-yard box where Lewandowski scored with a neat back-heeled flick.

The visitors were relentless in attack and Leroy Sane nearly doubled the lead but the German winger saw his shot hit the post while Leon Goretzka also forced Lukas Hradecky into making a low save.

Lewandowski made it 2-0 at the half-hour mark when a Bayern counter-attack allowed left back Alphonso Davies to dribble his way into the box towards the Polish striker, who simply stuck a leg out to tap the ball into the net.

Bayern then scored three goals in three minutes with Thomas Mueller scoring from close range before Gnabry scored twice, benefiting from a Mueller assist and then a lay off from Goretzka as Leverkusen failed to deal with the constant press.

"When you score five goals in 45 minutes, it shows the kind of football we played," said Lewandowski, who moved joint-top of the league's scoring charts alongside Dortmund's Erling Haaland on nine goals.

"After 45 minutes it was clear that we could go back to Munich with three points."

Manuel Neuer kept Leverkusen at bay with some fine saves but he was finally beaten 10 minutes after the restart when Patrik Schick was released down the right channel by Florian Wirtz and the Czech forward fired a shot that went in off the post.

Leverkusen substitute Lucas Alario also had the ball in the net in the dying stages but the goal was ruled out for offside.

"The first goal and the seven minutes after that destroyed us," Hradecky said.

"Everyone has to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they worked enough for the team today. We didn't deserve the atmosphere and the full stadium today."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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