No diving: Leverkusen beats Bayern 2-1 to leave Dortmund top
BERLIN (AP) — Amine Adli was twice booked for diving, had the yellow card rescinded both times, and Bayer Leverkusen scored twice from the resulting penalties to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 on Sunday.
The win left Borussia Dortmund top of the Bundesliga.
Referee Tobias Stieler had VAR to thank — twice — after getting it wrong. He apologized to Adli on each occasion after consulting replays showing the French player had, in fact, been fouled first by Benjamin Pavard, then Dayot Upamecano.
Exequiel Palacios scored both penalties to end Bayern’s four-game winning run across all competitions and leave Dortmund one point clear with nine rounds remaining.
Bayern next hosts Dortmund on April 1.
Leverkusen threatened more in the early stages with Bayern relying on goalkeeper Yann Sommer to deny Kerem Demirbay and Alphonso Davies to clear from the lurking Jeremie Frimpong.
Joshua Kimmich scored with Bayern’s first attack in the 22nd. A deflection took the ball past the helpless Lukáš Hrádecký in the Leverkusen goal.
Pavard then conceded the first penalty. Stieler initially booked Adli for diving, then changed his mind after seeing video replays showing how Pavard caught his compatriot’s boot with his studs. Adli actually lost his boot and flung it to the ground in frustration after being booked. But Stieler withdrew the yellow card after seeing the replays.
Palacios made no mistake from the spot to equalize in the 55th.
Stieler again booked Adli for diving in the 70th — again withdrawn with an apology after seeing replays of Upamecano’s foul on the Leverkusen forward. Again Palacios scored.
Hrádecký saved from Leroy Sané, and then from Davies, to preserve the win and help Leverkusen move eighth and boost its chances of European qualification.
UNION AGAIN IMPRESSES
Former Germany midfielder Sami Khedira watched as his brother Rani Khedira led Union Berlin to third place with a 2-0 win over visiting Eintracht Frankfurt.
Rani Khedira was captain in place of the absent Christopher Trimmel and he broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute with the final say in a goalmouth scramble after a corner. His older brother, who last played for city rival Hertha Berlin before retiring in 2021, tried capturing the celebrations on his mobile phone.
Frankfurt had created more chances but failed to put any away with Union goalkeeper Frederik Rönnow at his best for the home team.
Union forward Sheraldo Becker had a fine strike ruled out for offside before substitute Kevin Behrens sealed the win after a long kick from Rönnow in the 75th. Behrens was quickest to the ball and he squeezed his shot through the legs of Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp for his fifth Bundesliga goal of the season.
It stretched Union’s unbeaten run at home in the league to 18 games and lifted the team three points ahead of Leipzig and Freiburg, which played at Mainz later Sunday.
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Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press