Bayern beats Leverkusen 3-1 as winter break ends

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And the 72-year-old is well aware that fourth-placed Leverkusen go into the game at the BayArena on the back of a 12-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

The first half began at a blistering pace with both sides opting to attack at will. Leverkusen set the tone early on with some strong tackles. Jamaican winger Leon Bailey has been one of the most exciting young players in Germany. Arturo Vidal worked out two opportunities in the opening period but Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno was on guard twice to maintain parity.

Leverkusen's first real chance a few moments later should have opened the scoring, but the unmarked Dominik Kohr headed wide from the left-wing corner.

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"It will be tough at Leverkusen and we will have to give our all to win there", said the Frenchman.

However, the host's goalkeeper was hapless in the 32nd minute when Vidal's header on target was blocked allowing Javi Martinez to slot home the opener following a rebound from close range.

Just four minutes later, however, Franck Ribery doubled Bayern's lead, as he received the ball in acres of space on the left-wing, before cutting inside and finishing into the bottom-left corner.

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But luck was on Leverkuseuln's side 20 minutes from time, as Volland's effort from just outside the penalty area took a huge deflection off Sule and beat the helpless Sven Ulreich. "We are relaxed. The only club that can say no - and would do so - if a player attracted interest is Bayern Munich", Voller said in an interview with Die Welt. - Bayer Leverkusen scored in its 23rd consecutive Bundesliga match - by far the best streak of any team in the division.

Heynckes, 72, coached Leverkusen between 2009 and 2011 and was under no illusions about the hard task presented by his former side, who are buoyed by a 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions which has seen them rise to fourth in the table.

Coach Jupp Heynckes sent on winter signing Sandro Wagner for his second Bayern debut - he made four Bundesliga appearances for the senior side in the 2007-08 season - but James stole the limelight with his flawless free kick into the top left corner. - Jupp Heynckes has won 10 of his 11 Bundesliga matches since coming back as Bayern coach, losing only to Borussia Monchengladbach.

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