Florian Wirtz scored a sublime individual goal to pave the way for Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen side to beat Freiburg 2-1 on Sunday.
Leverkusen dominated the first half and sent out an early sign of their intentions when Granit Xhaka whipped a long-range drive just wide of the post inside the first minute. That was as close as they came to troubling Noah Atubolu for a while though, as a well-drilled Freiburg side sat deep and looked to pounce on the counter. That plan was undone by a moment of sheer brilliant by Wirtz, however, when he danced past a handful of players inside the Freiburg penalty area, twisting and turning before curling a shot inside the far post. Edmond Tapsoba headed wide from a corner as the home side went close to extending their lead just before the interval.
The flow of the game initially remained the same in the second half, and Wirtz stung the palms of Atubolu with a stinging effort from the edge of the box before Victor Boniface tried a lob from the halfway line that drifted wide. Jonas Hofmann eventually added to the scoreline on the hour mark when his drive from the edge of the area struck the post, hit Atubolu and went in. That forced Freiburg’s hand and Christian Streich’s side grew more adventurous going forward, committing greater numbers to attack. They were rewarded for their efforts when Manuel Gulde headed in a teasing Vincenzo Grifo free-kick, but Leverkusen almost hit back instantly, Wirtz hitting the crossbar with another long-range drive. The final few minutes were frenetic as Freiburg pushed for an equaliser, but Leverkusen held on to claim their fifth home win from as many Bundesliga games this season.
Watch: Wirtz's magical solo
- Alonso took charge of his 50th competitive fixture with Leverkusen. His Bundesliga record in 35 games is 21 wins, seven draws and seven defeats.
- Wirtz's goal was just his second in the Bundesliga this season.
- Leverkusen set a new club record after nine matchdays: never before have they scored 26 goals.
- Frimpong now has five assists this season. Only RB Leipzig attacker Xavi Simons has more (six).
- Leverkusen’s record at home in the Bundesliga this season is five wins, 16 goals scored and five conceded.
- Grifo has been directly involved in each of Freiburg’s last seven Bundesliga goals, scoring two and setting up five. He now has three goals and seven assists against Leverkusen.
Watch: Hrádecký: "Wirtz is a nightmare for goalkeepers"
Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Tella 85'), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo (Hincapié 90') - Hofmann (Adli 85'), Wirtz (Hložek 90') - Boniface (Schick 90')
Unused subs: Kovář, Stanišić, Amiri, Andrich
Out: Arthur (thigh), Fosu-Mensah (knee)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Freiburg: Atubolu - Sildillia, Ginter, Lienhart (Gulde 67'), Kübler - Röhl (Adamu 81'), Eggestein (Gregoritsch 67'), Höfler - Dōan, Grifo (c) (Weißhaupt 81') - Höler
Unused subs: Müller, Schmidt, Makengo, Rüdlin
Out: Günter (broken arm), Keitel (groin), Kyereh (knee), Philipp (shoulder), Sallai (muscular)
Coach: Christian Streich
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