Neuer’s injury worsens Bayern’s hope of Bundesliga top spot

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski vies for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich in Leverkusen, western Germany, on February 2, 2019. (Photo by Patrik STOLLARZ / AFP)

Bayern Munich are unsure whether Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer can play in next week’s crunch German Cup tie at Hertha Berlin after losing more ground in the Bundesliga title race on Saturday.

The defending German champions were humbled 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen to leave them seven points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund in the title race.

To make matters worse, Bayern later dropped to third in the table after Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-0 win at 10-man Schalke meant they drew level on 42 points and leap-frogged into second on goal difference.

“The only positive thing is that Dortmund didn’t get three points,” said Bayern’s head coach Niko Kovac after Dortmund drew 1-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

“Now we are seven points behind and that’s no small amount.

“We have to use the remaining games, which won’t be easy, but we won’t give up, we still believe and will keep on working.”

After Leon Goretzka gave Bayern a 1-0 first-half lead and Robert Lewandowski had a goal ruled offside, Kovac’s side had few answers as Leon Bailey curled in a free-kick, then Leverkusen attacked on the counter with goals by Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario.

“We should have led by more after the first-half, then what happened is exactly what I didn’t want,” said Kovac as Bayern’s seven-match winning streak in the league ended abruptly.

“We got into an exchange of blows with Leverkusen and they killed us.

“The goals we conceded shouldn’t have happened the way they did, so we have to be annoyed with ourselves.

“The result doesn’t reflect the game and we shouldn’t have lost it.

“Leverkusen had four shots on goal and created three goals.”

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