Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Bayern Munich: Xabi Alonso’s Bundesliga leaders dismantle champions to open up a five-point gap… as Josip Stanisic and Alex Grimaldo net and Jeremie Frimpong scores a screamer

In that final moment, as things became desperate, Xabi Alonso and Harry Kane made the same reaction, rocking sharply backwards with apprehension.

Kane was in possession on the edge of Leverkusen’s area, Alonso was stood in his technical area unable to do anymore. But England’s captain over-hit his pass, the BayArena erupted and the man who might just be Jurgen Klopp’s successor had his biggest moment as a manager.

This night could not have been more wildly contrasting. Where everything went wrong for Kane and his ramshackle Bayern Munich team, Bayer Leverkusen were breathtaking, executing the plan Alonso had devised so perfectly that they dismantled Germany’s perennially champions.

By the end, it was 3-0 but it could have been double that scoreline. Leverkusen ran through Munich like a bolt of lightning, scorching them and leaving them smouldering. Alonso’s fingerprints were all over it from start to finish.

Kick-off was delayed. There have been protests across Germany all weekend about the prospect of outside investment in the Bundesliga and it was no different here, with tennis balls, rubber toys and other objects littering the home goalmouth.

You wondered whether the false start would have a negative impact on Leverkusen, who haven’t been in this position for years, but the opposite was true: Bayern were the team riddled with anxiety and simply couldn’t get going once the contest got underway.

Take Eric Dier: his first three actions were two massively over-hit long balls that careered out of play and a mis-control that almost led to him being caught in possession. He wasn’t alone, though, and it said everything that Manuel Neuer, the totem of this club, was similarly shaky.

But don’t they say teams reflect the character of their managers? You couldn’t help but make a comparison between Thomas Tuchel, who leapt about and manically grabbed his baseball cap in a manner that reminded you of Basil Fawlty before an impending calamity.

Alonso, on the other hand, exuded cool, sartorially and professionally. Yes, there was a burning intensity – he let rip at Bayern’s Alexsandar Pavlovic when the midfielder threw himself to the ground theatrically – but he was always in control. So were his team.

Leverkusen’s football in the first period was, in moments, breathtaking – short, rat-a-tat-tat passes pinging triangularly in between black shirts. One moment it would seem they were boxed, the next acres of space had opened up and they were away. This, be sure, was their coach’s influence.

Such nimble play provided the avenue for the opening goal. Leverkusen went thrillingly back to front in the 18th minute, forcing Dayot Upamecano to make a desperate clearance. But he succeeded only in finding a touch and from the resulting throw-in, the hosts took the lead.

Bayern dithered, Robert Andrich charged down the left and fizzed a ball across the six-yard box that demanded a finishing touch. Arriving at the back post unnoticed, Josip Stanisic did just that. The Croatia right-back refused to celebrate –he’s on loan from Bayern – but he was the only who didn’t.

A huge goal and a huge moment. There was excitement last season when it seemed Borussia Dortmund might reclaim the title but they never fully convinced you they believed themselves they could do it, eventually wobbling on the final day.

There is a long way to go but Leverkusen look different. They don’t have a swaggering individual talent, as Dortmund had with Jude Bellingham, but that is no hindrance when you have a collective who are working in unison and following a clear plan.

Everything about them was fresh and vibrant, while Bayern looked like a stale loaf. Kane would have imagined stamping his authority all over this fixture but he barely got a touch. At one point in the second period, he tried to impart some instructions but nobody was listening.

By that point, Leverkusen had doubled their lead and how beautifully they did it. 

Down the left side they went again, Nathan Tella inviting Alejandro Grimaldo to dash forward, the Spaniard giving the ball back to the young Nigerian before bursting into the area to the area: one-two, one-two, 2-0.

Grimaldo’s finish was glorious, speared high into a tight angle that Neuer couldn’t protect. Again, more bedlam. Up in the stands, Rudi Voeller – a Leverkusen legend and one of the German greats – sat shaking his head, seemingly unable to comprehend what was happening.

He could believe everything he was seeing, all right. The longest unbeaten run in Europe continues and the gloss was applied when Jeremie Frimpong scored from an improbable angle, with Neuer stranded up the other end of the field. 

A remarkable conclusion to a remarkable night.