Tuchel concedes Bundesliga title to Leverkusen after Bayern lose Der Klassiker

Bavarians beaten 2-0 by Dortmund to leave them 13 points behind Xabi Alonso's team with seven games left

Thomas Tuchel will likely have to win the Champions League if wants to become the first Bayern Munich manager since 2012 to end a season trophyless. Getty Images
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Thomas Tuchel has admitted that Bayer Leverkusen have all but won the Bundesliga title after his Bayern Munich side were beaten at home by Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

Goals from Karim Adeyemi and Julian Ryerson gave Dortmund their first Der Klassiker victory since 2019 while Leverkusen produced a dramatic late comeback to beat Hoffenheim 2-1.

It means Xabi Alonso's team are now 13 points clear of Bayern with seven games to go and are on the brink of sealing their first Bundesliga crown, which would end the Bavarian's run of 11 consecutive titles.

It also leaves Tuchel – who leaves the club at the end of the season – with the realisation that he will most likely have to win the Champions League for Bayern to avoid its first trophyless season since 2012.

They take on Premier League leaders Arsenal in the quarter-finals next month with Tuchel hoping he can end his Bayern reign by securing the club a seventh European Cup.

When asked if they were out of the running for the Bundesliga crown, Tuchel told Sky: “Obviously, yes.

“After this game there is no more need to count points. How many is it now? Congratulations to Leverkusen.”

Bayern dominated the opening 10 minutes against Dortmund but fell behind when the Munich-born Karim Adeyemi scored with the visitors’ first chance.

Thomas Muller lost the ball in midfield and the visitors worked it quickly to Adeyemi, whose shot should have been stopped by Sven Ulreich in the Bayern goal.

Sebastien Haller set up Julian Ryerson to seal the win in the 83rd with a low shot inside the far post. It was Haller's first appearance since leading Ivory Coast to the Africa Cup of Nations title.

Harry Kane thought he’d pulled one back in the 89th but Bayern’s evening was summed up when the goal was ruled out through VAR for offside.

“I thought we wouldn't go back to this point. Clearly I was wrong and we did indeed go back to simply giving away a game and not knowing exactly how it happened,” said Tuchel.

Leverkusen only just avoided its first defeat of the season when Robert Andrich and Patrik Schick scored late on to beat Hoffenheim.

The league leader's 38-game unbeaten streak looked set to end when they were still 1-0 down with two minutes of normal time remaining.

But Andrich scored to cancel out Maximilian Beier's opener and the hosts' comeback was completed with a 91st-minute Schick winner.

It capped a superb weekend for Leverkusen after manager Xabi Alonso's announcement that he would be staying with the club.

The Spanish coach had been linked with Bayern as a replacement Tuchel and also Liverpool, whose German manager Jurgen Klopp is leaving the Premier League club at the end of the season.

But on Friday, Alonso revealed that he would not be moving to either Bayern or Liverpool – he enjoyed successful spells at both clubs during his playing career – saying Leverkusen “is the right place" for him be.

And on Saturday, his team once again showed their fighting spirit. Leverkusen had come from two goals down in both Europa League last-16 legs against Qarabag this month to advance 5-4 on aggregate.

“Every game is a huge challenge for us. We were lucky but we showed a very good mentality to keep going, to keep believing. We had a chance to win just like against Qarabag and we did it,” Alonso said.

“In the first half we had problems to control the game and to reach the final third of the pitch. But we kept at it and in the second half we scored. It does not matter when. We needed a goal to change the mindset.”

Seventh-place Hoffenheim stifled the good feeling surrounding Alonso's announcement when Beier put them into a 33rd-minute lead but Leverkusen were not to be denied.

“After they hit the post and the crossbar I thought, perhaps today is really our day,” said Hoffenheim coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. “Perhaps they'll stop believing in themselves. But they don't do that.”

Alonso is closing in on what would be a remarkable treble as they also take on second-tier Fortuna Dusseldorf in the German Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

Updated: March 31, 2024, 6:30 AM