Florian Wirtz on target as Bayer Leverkusen edge RB Leipzig


Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong were both on the scoresheet as Bayer Leverkusen edged RB Leipzig 3-2 on Bundesliga Matchday 1 on Saturday.

Leverkusen 3-2 Leipzig
Goals: 1-0 Frimpong 24' (assist: Boniface), 2-0 Tah 35' (assist: Hofmann), 2-1 Olmo 39' (assist: Raum), 3-1 Wirtz 65' (assist: Frimpong), 3-2 Openda (assist: Simakan)

Leipzig began in confident mood - understandably so following last week’s 3-0 Supercup triumph over Bayern Munich - with Timo Werner, Lois Openda and Benjamin Henrichs all firing efforts at goal in the opening 10 minutes. Leverkusen gave as good as they got though, and took the lead midway through the half when Victor Boniface teed up Jeremie Frimpong to tap in from close range. Xabi Alonso’s side doubled their advantage a short while later when Jonathan Tah connected with a corner from summer arrival Jonas Hofmann to seemingly put the hosts in charge. They were very nearly out of sight by the break following a swift counter-attack, but Boniface could only head straight at Janis Blaswich from another Hofmann delivery. It was a miss they would come to regret as Dani Olmo soon reduced the deficit with a near-post header from a David Raum corner.

There was more of the same after the interval as both teams continued their commitment to attack. Wirtz had the first opening within just a couple of minutes when Hofmann slipped a pass through to him, but Blaswich produced a stunning reflex save to keep it out at close range. Wirtz made amends a little while later though, restoring his side’s two-goal advantage with a chip over Blaswich from Frimpong’s cut-back. There was plenty more action to come, however. Openda hauled Leipzig back into the game with a close-range header after another Raum set-piece, and the scorer should have equalised second later with the goal at his mercy, but he couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet quickly enough and ended up hitting the post under pressure from Frimpong. That set up a grandstand finish but Leverkusen managed to hold on for three hard-earned points.

Match stats

  • Granit Xhaka made his 109th Bundesliga appearance here, and his first for 2,653 days since facing Darmstadt with Gladbach on 14 May 2016. 
  • Frimpong now has two goals in as many games this season, having also found the target in the DFB Cup last week. The Dutchman registered eight Bundesliga goals in 2022/23.
  • Tah has scored eight of his nine Bundesliga goals from set-piece situations, five of which have been headers.
  • Leipzig remain vulnerable at dead-ball situations: last term they conceded 17 times from set-pieces. Only Bochum and relegated Hertha Berlin let in more (21 each).
  • Olmo only scored five goals in 32 competitive appearances last season. In 2023/24 he already has four goals in two games.
  • The Spaniard's strike here was his 14th in the Bundesliga, and first scored with his head.

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Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Arthur 78'), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Hlozek 89'), Wirtz (Andrich 75') – Boniface (Amiri 89')
Unused subs: Kovar, Arthur, Fosu-Mensah, Münz, Mbamba, Puerta
Out: Adli (suspended), Azmoun (calf), Hincapie (suspended), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso 

Leipzig: Blaswich - Henrichs, Simakan, Orban (c), Raum - Schlager (Carvalho 84'), Seiwald (Lukeba 62') - Simons (Kampl 62'), Olmo, Werner (Poulsen 62') – Openda (Forsberg 75')
Unused subs: Zingerle, Klostermann, Baumgartner, Novoa
Out: Bitshiabu (knee), Clark (knock), Gulacsi (knee), Haidara (calf)
Coach: Marco Rose