Lucas Alario scored twice and Moussa Diaby added a late third as Bayer Leverkusen climbed to fourth with a 3-1 victory at home to Augsburg to round out Matchday 5 on Monday.
Having never managed to beat Leverkusen since earning promotion to the Bundesliga in 2011, losing 12 and drawing six, Augsburg began with the air of a team intent on setting that right. Yet while their intense pressing and fighting spirit put them on top early on, they never troubled home goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, allowing Leverkusen to gradually take control. They were handed – quite literally – the opening on 16 minutes when Raphael Framberger handled Nadiem Amiri’s corner from the right, and Alario emphatically scord the opener from the resulting penalty. Die Werkself subsequently dominated the game and had 64 per cent of possession by half-time, but they struggled to break down a well-drilled Augsburg defence, with wayward shots from Alario, Exequiel Palacios and Leon Bailey the best they had to show for their efforts.
Augsburg coach Heiko Herrlich made two attacking substitutions at the internal, bringing on Ruben Vargas and Fredrik Jensen, and the move immediately breathed new life into their approach play. Carlos Gruezo fired over with an early warning shot following good work from Vargas, who teed up Daniel Caligiuri for the equaliser moments later, the former Schalke winger drilling a low shot past Hradecky from 12 yards. Vargas headed off target from a corner as Augsburg threatened to wrestle control of the game, but Alario had other ideas. Shortly after hitting the post with a header, the Argentinian scored his second of the game by nodding in Amiri’s free-kick. The away side threw everything forward, including goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz, in the closing stages as they desperately sought to pull level again, but they conceded a late third when Bailey rolled the ball into Diaby’s path on the counter-attack, leaving the Frenchman a simple tap-in to seal a victory that lifts Peter Bosz’s side into the top four.
- After finding the net against Mainz and Nice in the Europa League, this was the third successive game Alario has scored in - his first such run at Leverkusen.
- Alario's brace was his sixth in the Bundesliga, while two of his three league goals this term have been headers.
- Caligiuri ended Augsburg's eight-hour goal drought at the BayArena, having previously failed to find the net in Leverkusen in 488 minutes.
- The Augsburg midfielder has been directly involved in half of his team's goals, scoring two and providing one assist.
- Robert Gumny made his Bundesliga debut here and became the 100th Pole to appear in Germany's top flight.
- Leverkusen are now unbeaten in their 19 Bundesliga meetings with Augsburg to date. No other Bundesliga club has faced a team as often without losing.
Watch: Bailey: "Alario's done a great job"
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c) (Dragovic 36'), S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven - Baumgartlinger - Bailey, Palacios (Wirtz 63'), Amiri, Diaby - Alario (Bellarabi 81')
Unused subs: Lomb, Tah, Jedvaj, Wendell, Weiser, Demirbay
Out: Aranguiz (muscular), Arias (ankle), Paulinho (knee), Schick (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Augsburg: Gikiewicz - Framberger (Gumny 81'), Gouweleeuw (c), Uduokhai, Iago - Hahn (Vargas 46'), Khedira (Richter 81'), Gruezo, Caligiuri - Gregoritsch (Jensen 46'), Niederlechner (Strobl 74')
Unused subs: Koubek, Pedersen, Suchy, Oxford
Out: Finnbogason (thigh), Moravek (muscular)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich