BERLIN – Goals from Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez helped Bayern Munich maintain their grip on the top of the table as they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on Saturday, plunging their opponents into an early-season crisis.
With three defeats in three, Leverkusen have made their worst ever start to a Bundesliga campaign.
Leverkusen got off to a dream start when Thiago’s handball gave them a penalty in the second minute.
Manuel Neuer initially denied Kevin Volland from 12 yards, but the spot-kick was ordered retaken for players encroaching into the area, and Wendell smashed in the retake.
Leverkusen’s joy was short-lived, as Corentin Tolisso prodded in the equaliser just four minutes later, and Robben fired Bayern ahead with a superb volley on 20 minutes.
“It wasn’t easy today, but luckily we bounced back quickly,” Robben told Sky.
“I don’t want to criticise my teammates, but everybody needs to pull their weight when we are pressing.”
Leverkusen’s fate seemed sealed when Karim Bellarabi was sent off for a reckless challenge on Rafinha 10 minutes from time, and James Rodriguez added Bayern’s third in the 89th minute.
Schalke have also lost three out of three after they were plunged further into crisis in a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the late game.
The early-season nightmare continued for Schalke when Matthias Ginter headed Gladbach ahead after just two minutes.
The home side then took control of the first half, with several chances falling to Alassane Plea and Thorgan Hazard.
Schalke rallied before halftime, and both Salif Sane and Mark Uth forced saves from Yann Sommer. Uth found the net early in the second half, but was pulled back for offside.
Jonas Hofmann hit the post for Gladbach in the 73rd minute, but it was substitute Patrick Hermann who delivered the knockout blow a few minutes later, sweeping Oscar Wendt’s cross into the bottom corner.
Breel Embolo’s swerving strike in stoppage time proved no more than a consolation goal.
Promoted Duesseldorf snatched a surprise 2-1 win over Hoffenheim, who make their Champions League debut next week.
Alfredo Morales headed Duesseldorf ahead against the run of play on the stroke of halftime.
English youngster Reiss Nelson, on loan from Arsenal, appeared to save his team’s blushes when he scored on debut to make it 1-1.
The relief did not last long, though, as Dodi Lukebakio restored Duesseldorf’s lead from the penalty spot on 88 minutes.
Germany international Timo Werner scored twice to inspire RB Leipzig to their first win of the season in a 3-2 thriller against Hanover.
On his return to the starting eleven, Yussuf Poulsen nodded Leipzig ahead on ten minutes, before Niclas Fuellkrug blasted in an equaliser for Hanover a few minutes later.
Timo Werner twice linked up with Sweden striker Emil Forsberg on the counter-attack to put RB Leipzig 3-1 ahead, but the visitors were uncowed, and Miiko Albornoz quickly pulled a goal back with a curling shot into the top corner.
🗣️ #Kovac reacts to #FCBB04: "I would like to congratulate my team. We recovered from the early goal very quickly. I would have liked us to score the third a lot earlier, but overall I'm very happy." #FCBB04pic.twitter.com/f0z6oZIoYk