Florian Wirtz serves up reminder of his class as Bayer Leverkusen down Bochum
Florian Wirtz provided an assist on his return to the starting line-up to help Bayer Leverkusen extend their winning run under head coach Xabi Alonso to five straight Bundesliga games with a 2-0 success at home to Bochum.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Bochum
Goals: 1-0 Tapsoba (pen. 8'), 2-0 Hlozek (assist: Wirtz)
Bochum came into the game with chests puffed following their 3-1 triumph over Hertha Berlin at the weekend, but it soon became clear why they had taken just three points from a possible 24 on the road prior to this fixture. Just eight minutes were on the clock when Moussa Diaby scampered down the right and cut into the box, where he was tripped by Keven Schlotterbeck. Leverkusen had missed their last six penalties in all competitions, but none of them had been taken by Edmond Tapsoba, who should perhaps be the team's designated spot-kick expert now after unerringly lashing his effort into the top corner. The visitors were unfazed, though, and boldly went on the front foot, but a lack of precision in the final third meant they never seriously troubled Lukas Hradecky before the interval.
Leverkusen showed them how it was done early in the second half. Their high press forced a defensive error, the ball spilling out to Wirtz wide on the left. The 19-year-old spotted Adam Hlozek's run and picked him out at the near post to prod in from close range. The visitors could have pulled one back midway through the half when some lax defending allowed Christopher Antwi-Adjei a free run into the box, but he couldn't control the ball with just Hradecky to beat. Alonso reacted by taking off Diaby and bringing on an extra defender in Odilon Kossounou, eager to tighten up his team's rearguard and see the result over the line. They duly did so with a minimum of fuss to climb up to eighth in the table, leaving Bochum down in 16th.
- Wirtz made his first Bundesliga start since 13 March 2022, 318 days after suffering a cruciate ligament injury against former club Cologne.
- Kevin Stöger made his 100th Bundesliga appearance, Anthony Losilla his 50th.
- Bochum conceded 11 penalties in the first half of this 2022/23 season, setting an unwanted Bundesliga record.
- Leverkusen scored in the opening quarter of an hour for the first time this term.
- Tapsoba's goal was his first in the current campaign, making him Leverkusen's 15th different scorer in 2022/23 - a league high.
- Leverkusen have earned 19 points from nine games under Alonso, after just five from the first eight this season under Gerardo Seoane.
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Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong (Bellarabi 86'), Amiri, Andrich, Hudson-Odoi (Adli 46') - Wirtz (Azmoun 72') - Diaby (Kossounou 79'), Hlozek (Palacios 86')
Unused subs: Lomb, Bakker, Fosu-Mensah, Demirbay
Out: Aranguiz (calf), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Bochum: Riemann - Janko (Osei-Tutu 70'), Lampropoulos, Schlotterbeck, Soares (Holtmann 83') - Masovic, Losilla (c) (Kunde Malong 83') - Asano (Förster 70'), Stöger, Antwi-Adjei (Ganvoula 70') - Hofmann
Unused subs: Johansson, Heintz, Osterhage, Zoller
Out: Gamboa (knee), Grave (shoulder)
Coach: Thomas Letsch
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