Moussa Diaby scored his first goal in Germany as a dominant Bayer Leverkusen had to settle for a draw with high-flying Freiburg on Saturday afternoon.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Freiburg
Goals: 0-1 Höler (5'), 1-1 Diaby (36')
Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken had a heart-in-mouth moment in the game's early minutes, slipping as he took a goal kick and being forced to punt the ball clear before Leverkusen recovered possession. From the resulting indirect free-kick, Kerem Demirbay crashed an effort off the crossbar and Kevin Volland's follow-up was blocked before Freiburg eventually scrambled the ball clear. Minutes later, the visitors forged ahead from a set piece of their own, the unmarked Lucas Höler stooping to head in Christian Günter's corner. The game settled after that furious opening, although Diaby's low cross almost forced Dominique Heintz into conceding an own goal. After further chances for the improving hosts through Karim Bellarabi and Diaby, the latter celebrated his first Bundesliga start by planting into the bottom corner for his first goal in Germany. The Frenchman then came close to teeing up Volland for 2-1 but his cross was slightly overcooked, and Bellarabi clipped the outside of the post as the sides went in all square at the break.
Having finished the first half on top, Leverkusen picked up where they left off in the second half. Five minutes in, Bellarabi found Volland all alone in the middle, but Leverkusen's top scorer failed to get the better of Flekken. The one-way traffic continued, though, as Wendell looked to tee up Volland and Diaby went charging through the Freiburg defence but ran out of steam before he could get a proper shot away. Both goalscorers had a great chance to give their side the lead midway through the half, but Höler was brilliantly denied by Lukas Hradecky before Diaby, having latched onto an inch-perfect ball from Volland and beaten Flekken, slipped over and put his effort just wide. Remarkably, given the number of clear-cut chances, neither side managed to get that all-important second goal, although Freiburg could be much happier coming away with a point. Christian Streich's side remain in the top three while the rather unfortunate Leverkusen are six points off top spot.
- Höler scored Freiburg's earliest goal of 2019/20. His only previous away goal in the Bundesliga came at the Allianz Arena in last season's 1-1 draw at Bayern Munich.
- In the absence of the injured Kai Havertz, Diaby made his first Bundesliga start and scored his first goal for Leverkusen.
- The Frenchman becomes the first summer recruit to have netted for Die Werkself this term.
- Wendell made his 200th competitive outing for Leverkusen, while Volland played his 100th Bundesliga game for the club.
- Leverkusen are unbeaten in each of their last seven Bundesliga home games against Freiburg. The last time the Black Forest club picked up three points at the BayArena was March 2012, when Julian Schuster and Daniel Caligiuri scored in a 2-0 win.
- The absent Havertz has played 98 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen.
Watch: Brandon Borello on why Freiburg's draw away to Leverkusen is not a result to be sniffed at
Leverkusen: Hradecky - Weiser (L. Bender 26'), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell - Aranguiz, Demirbay - Bellarabi, Amiri (Paulinho 89'), Diaby - Volland (c) (Alario 74')
Unused subs: Özcan, Retsos, Dragovic, Stanilewicz
Out: Bailey (suspended), Havertz (hamstring), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Sinkgraven (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Freiburg: Flekken - Lienhart, Koch, Heintz - Schmid, Haberer, Höfler, Günter (c) - Borrello (Sallai 57'), Petersen (Schlotterbeck 90'+3), Höler (Frantz 90'+2)
Unused subs: Thiede, Gulde, Ravet, Gondorf, Kwon, Jeong
Out: Abrashi (muscular), Grifo (suspended), Kübler (knee), Schwolow (hamstring), Tempelmann (knee), Waldschmidt (head, knee, ankle)
Coach: Christian Streich