Highlights

14:30
Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor
0:28
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Watch: Xabi Alonso looks ahead to Bayern showdown

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Full-time: Darmstadt 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen

Nathan Tella is the unexpected matchwinner with a brilliant brace on his first ever Bundesliga start as Leverkusen maintained their two-goal advantage over Bayern Munich ahead of next weekend's top-of-the-table clash.
Full-time
90'
+ 3

Substitution

90'

Four minutes of stoppage time indicated

Xabi Alonso's men can celebrate soon, surely...
90'

Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 90 minutes

information
Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 90 minutes
Through high-end camera technology and machine learning, the speed of each player is evaluated in real time. Top speed then means, the fastest measured single frame of a player/game.
88'

Tapsoba back

A pleasing substitution for Leverkusen. Granit Xhaka has avoided getting a fifth yellow card of the season and can therefore play in the huge clash against Bayern Munich next weekend, while Edmond Tapsoba makes his first appearance after returning from the African Cup of Nations.
86'

Final furlong for Leverkusen

The visitors continue to thread trademark short passes to retain possession and click the tock even closer to the 90-minute mark.
81'

Two more changes for Darmstadt

One of those is enforced, with Matej Maglica taking a blow to his knee and requiring treatment before coming off.
77'

Hofmann off the bench

Jonas Hofmann was given a rare substitutes' berth today but comes on for Wirtz with around 15 minutes remaining.
75'

Wirtz hits the bar

So close to a third! Marcel Schuhen gifts the ball to Leverkusen on the edge of the box, and Florian Wirtz is teed up but sends his shot into the woodwork.
72'

No hurry for Bayer

Leverkusen are passing the ball around with ease, in full knowledge that Darmstadt have no chance of threatening when they retain possession.
68'

Franjić booked

Bartol Franjić tugs at Granit Xhaka to stop a break and is booked.
67'

Triple change for the hosts

Darmstadt need inspiration from somewhere if they are to spark a shock comeback - three pairs of fresh legs will try to do just that.
64'

Clear upper hand

The leaders have fired 13 shots so far and are well worth their two-goal advantage despite Darmstadt's best efforts.
Goal attempts
2off target
4on target
8off target
5on target
59'

Tella has another effort

He can't get a hat-trick on his first Bundesliga start, can he? Tella tries to curl an effort from the edge of the box, but it takes a deflection and is saved.
52'

Tella smashes home Leverkusen's second!

A thunderbolt from Tella! Florian Wirtz lays the ball off to the right from the edge of the box and Nathan Tella smashes straight past Marcel Schuhen to double Leverkusen's lead and complete his brace!
52'

Nathan Tella

GOAL!

0:2
Nathan Tella
Goal probability
information
Goal probability
Goal probability determines the likelihood that the ball will land in the goal from every position on the pitch. The value is based on large amounts of data from previous years; factors such as shot angle, distance to goal and opponent pressure - as well as mathematical models.
6 %
Shot speed
information
Shot speed
Shot speed describes the maximum speed in km/h that a ball reaches in a shot on goal. The distance is measured from the location of the shot to the centre of the goal.
109.86 km/h
Distance to Goal
information
Distance to Goal
The distance to goal is measured at the time of the shot - from the position of the ball to the center of the goal.
15.51 m
49'

Zimmermann booked

The Darmstadt defender brings Florian Wirtz down and sees yellow.
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Tella's opener

The third goal from the English-born Nigeria international in the Bundesliga was the first with his head.
47'

Hard-working Werkself

Leverkusen have run almost four kilometres more than Darmstadt so far.
Distance run (km)
59.2
62.9
46'

Off we go again

The hosts start the second half.
Kick-off!
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Half-time: Darmstadt 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen

So far, so good for Xabi Alonso's league leaders, as they have found a way past a spirited Darmstadt defence with Nathan Tella's opener.
Half-time
45'
+ 1

Pfeiffer stopped

Once again Darmstadt thread together an encouraging attack, but Luca Pfeiffer's shot from the edge of the box is saved comfortably.
45'

Wirtz effort saved

The leaders are looking to press on with a second goal, but Wirtz can't send his drive past Schuhen. Two additional minutes are indicated.
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42'

Iglesias denied

Leverkusen debutant Borja Iglesias finds the ball run his way just in front of goal, but Marcel Schuhen gets out to smother his shot. The Darmstadt goalkeeper then denies Robert Andrich moments later.
39'

Karic header saved

Emir Karic sends a powerful header on target from a Tim Skarke corner, but it goes straight at Lukáš Hrádecký, who saves.
37'

That has shaken things up!

The opening goal for the league leaders is forcing Darmstadt to commit a few more men forward - and consequently leaving a bit more space for Leverkusen to play in going forward.
33'

Tella puts Leverkusen in front!

Leverkusen's game of patience in this first-half pays off! Alejandro Grimaldo swings a cross over from the left and Nathan Tella sneaks ahead of his marker to head in at the far post for his third goal of the season.
33'

Nathan Tella

GOAL!

0:1
Nathan Tella
Goal probability
information
Goal probability
Goal probability determines the likelihood that the ball will land in the goal from every position on the pitch. The value is based on large amounts of data from previous years; factors such as shot angle, distance to goal and opponent pressure - as well as mathematical models.
19 %
Distance to Goal
information
Distance to Goal
The distance to goal is measured at the time of the shot - from the position of the ball to the center of the goal.
9 m
30'

Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 30 minutes

information
Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 30 minutes
Through high-end camera technology and machine learning, the speed of each player is evaluated in real time. Top speed then means, the fastest measured single frame of a player/game.
28'

Chance for Vilhelmsson

Luca Pfeiffer threaded a pass across the box for Oscar Vilhelmsson, who was practically through on goal, but took a swing and a miss of the ball.
25'

Even encounter so far

Leverkusen have bossed the ball, as expected, but Darmstadt have dropped back and given the leaders very little space to play in. The Lillies have seen a few half-chances fall their way too, with Luca Pfeiffer just having a shot saved after a fluent attack.
20'

Zimmermann has a header

Christoph Zimmermann heads on goal from a Fabian Holland corner, but it's a looping effort that Lukáš Hrádecký comfortably saves.
18'

Tella shoots

New loan signing Borja Iglesias links up with Nathan Tella - who is also making his first Bundesliga start for Leverkusen today, but Tella's shot is blocked.
16'

Hložek fires wide

Leverkusen's first chance sees Alejandro Grimaldo cut the ball back to Adam Hložek, who steers the ball wide from the edge of the box.
13'

Leverkusen controlling the ball

The visitors are yet to fire a shot for all their early possession though.
Possession (%)
3268
9'

Wirtz weaves into box

The Leverkusen playmaker shows his sprightly feet for the first time today, weaving into the area from the left, but his cutback is cleared.
7'

Andrich booked

The Leverkusen midfielder sees yellow for clattering into Fabian Holland with a high boot.
6'

Quiet start

Asides from that one effort in the opening seconds, there is nothing to write home about yet - Leverkusen are focusing their early endeavours on dominating possession, as expected.
1'

First effort from Darmstadt

Gerrit Holtmann cracks a shot wide within the opening 20 seconds - perhaps an indication of just how determined Darmstadt are to spring an upset today...
1'

Off we go!

The leaders kick off.
Kick-off!

The players are out

We're ready for the battle of bottom v top in the Bundesliga!
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First starts for Tella and Iglesias

Nathan Tella (pictured left) makes his first Bundesliga start for Leverkusen today after 10 substitute appearances, while Borja Iglesias makes his debut after recently signing on loan from Real Betis.

More on that Darmstadt team

The hosts also make five changes to the side beaten 1-0 at Union Berlin last Sunday. Maglica, Zimmermann, Holtmann, Karic and Vilhelmsson are in for Klarer, Gjasula (both on the bench), Riedel, Justvan and Nürnberger (all injured).

More on that Leverkusen team

Xabi Alonso makes no fewer than five changes to the side that started the 0-0 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach last weekend. Hradecky, Tah, Hlozek, Tella and Iglesias are in for Kovar, Frimpong, Hofmann, Schick (all on the bench) and Amiri (who has moved to Mainz).
0:17
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Here come the league leaders

Leverkusen on their arrival...
0:15
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The quiet before the storm

The Stadion am Böllenfalltor is looking good! It's a bit overcast and breezy over in Darmstadt today, as you can probably pick up from this video.
0:12
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Inside the hosts' dressing room

The matchday preparations are almost done, with kick-off approaching.

Darmstadt starting XI

Schuhen - Bader, Zimmerman, Maglica - Holtmann, Franjić, Holland (c), Karić - Vilhelmsson, Skarke - Pfeiffer

Darmstadt subs

Brunst, Klarer, J. Mülller, Mehlem, Kempe, A. Müller, Gjasula, Polter, Torsiello

Leverkusen starting XI

Hrádecký (c) - Stanišić, Tah, Hincapié - Tella, Andrich, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hložek, Wirtz - Iglesias

Leverkusen subs

Kovář, Tapsoba, Fosu-Mensah, Frimpong, Hofmann, Mbamba, Puerta, Schick, Adli

'Never again is now!'

Under this slogan, German professional football is commemorating the victims of National Socialism on and around 27 January, the date of liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. This is the 20th year in which the DFL and the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs have been involved in the “day of commemoration in German football” in cooperation with the “!Nie Wieder” (“!Never Again”) initiative. In light of current events, the day of commemoration around Matchdays 19 and 20 (26–28 January and 2–4 February) will focus on the topic of antisemitism.
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Vote for Goal of the Month!

Harry Kane has claimed the last three awards, but he’s not even up for the vote this time. So, who are you going to pick for January’s Goal of the Month? Watch all 10 contenders here and then cast your vote for your favourite below!
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Lieberknecht's view on Darmstadt

"Leverkusen are an exceptional team, they're capable of winning the title. They have all the qualities of a top side: pace, intelligence and strength in the tackle. Everyone in Germany has come to learn that they can really play. We saw in the first game how all the cogs there mesh together. They're very much a 'team'. We need an exceptional performance."
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Alonso's view on Darmstadt

"I've played at Darmstadt, there's a special atmosphere in the stadium. They play with passion and are fighting to stay in the Bundesliga. I have great respect for the coach and the spirit of the team."

Twenty-ninth time unlucky?

Leverkusen have gone 28 games unbeaten in a single season once before, in Bundesliga 2 (1979). That run was ended at the 29th attempt, by Fortuna Düsseldorf.
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Probable line-ups

Who's set to play this weekend? Who's going to miss out? Keep up to date with all the latest team news right here!
2:03
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Watch: Leverkusen 5-1 Darmstadt - previous meeting

Victor Boniface scored twice as Leverkusen made light work of promoted Darmstadt on Matchday 3.
3:56
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Watch: Union Berlin 1-0 Darmstadt - highlights

Darmstadt remain rooted to the bottom after losing to Union Berlin. Winless in 12 Bundesliga matches, the Lilies find themselves six points adrift of outright safety after 19 matches.
4:04
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Watch: Leverkusen 0-0 Gladbach - highlights

Leverkusen dropped points for only the fourth time this season after being held to a goalless draw by Gladbach. Xabi Alonso's team are still unbeaten in 2023/24, but their lead at the top has been cut to two points.

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for joining us for build-up and live coverage of this Matchday 20 fixture between Darmstadt and Leverkusen.