Record-breaking Bayer Leverkusen march on with Mainz win


Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen ground out a win over Mainz to extend their unbeaten run to a record 33 competitive matches, whilst consolidating their lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Mainz
Goals: 1-0
Xhaka 3', 1-1 Kohr 8' (assist: Widmer), 2-1 Andrich 68' (assist: Wirtz)
Sent off: Ngankam 80'

Eight points clear of faltering Bayern Munich ahead of Matchday 23's opening fixture, Leverkusen were ahead after just three minutes at the BayArena. Álex Grimaldo's deflected pass found Granit Xhaka, who whipped a superb long-range finish over the despairing Robin Zentner. That lead last just three minutes, though. Leverkusen loanee Nadiem Amiri's free-kick was helped on by Silvan Widmer, allowing ex-Bayer midfielder Dominik Kohr to send a flying header past Lukas Hradecky for 1-1. Karim Onisiwo tested the Bayer stopper soon after, but Leverkusen asked the majority of the questions as Jonas Hofmann and Xhaka drew saves from Zentner. Jeremie Frimpong was unable to make more of a defensive mix-up involving the Mainz No.1, who atoned with a smart stop at his near post to repel Hofmann.

Relegation-threatened Mainz gave Leverkusen a scare right after the restart as Phillipp Mwene sent a towering header off target. Florian Wirtz returned fire with a deflected shot that whistled wide, but Leverkusen continued to show moments of vulnerability in defence. Edmond Tapsoba played a blind pass across his own area for Jae-sung Lee on one such occasion, the South Korea international sending a rushed attempt off target. Amine Adli glanced a header narrowly wide as the game opened up, before Leverkusen restored their advantage through Robert Andrich's speculative strike that Zentner could only fumble over his line. The goal settled any lingering Bayer nerves as the Bundesliga leaders saw out the remainder with minimum fuss, helped by a straight red card to Mainz substitute Jessic Ngankam for a rash foul on Xhaka. In doing so, they become the first Bundesliga team in history to go 33 consecutive matches without loss.

Match stats

  • Alonso's Leverkusen are unbeaten in 33 games in all competitions this season (29 wins), surpassing Hansi Flick's Bayern team of 2020 and 2021. However, Die Werkself's run is inside a single campaign.
  • Alonso has won 31 of his 49 Bundesliga games as Leverkusen head coach.
  • Over half of Andrich’s 13 Bundesliga goals have been from distance, the midfielder netting his seventh from long range here. He is the 16th different Bayer scorer in 2023/24 - a league-high spread.
  • Wirtz played his 100th Bundesliga game. At 20 years, nine months and 21 days of age, he is the fourth-youngest player in history to reach a century of Bundesliga appearances.
  • Leverkusen are the only team in the division yet to lose at home this season, while Mainz are the only side without an away win.
  • Amiri, who joined Mainz from Leverkusen in late January, has set up three of his new club's four goals since his arrival.

Watch: Xabi Alonso on hard-earned Mainz win


Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Tella 83'), Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Schick 65'), Wirtz (Hložek 90') - Adli (Hincapie 83')
Unused subs: Kovář, Stanišić, Mbamba, Puerta, Iglesias
Out: Arthur (thigh), Boniface (groin), Palacios (thigh)
Coach: Xabi Alonso 

Mainz: Zentner (c) - Kohr, Van den Berg, Caci - Widmer (Guilavogui 60'), Barreiro, Amiri, Mwene - Gruda (Ngankam 65'), Onisiwo (Krauß 83'), Lee
Unused subs: Rieß, Dal, Müller, Richter, Papela
Out: Bell (ill), Burkardt (ill), Fernandes (ankle), Hanche-Olsen (thigh), Leitsch (muscular), Weiper (knee)
Coach: Bo Henriksen

Watch: Granit Xhaka explains celebration