Bayer Leverkusen bounced back from successive defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Lokomotiv Moscow as they eased to a 2-0 victory over Union Berlin at the BayArena thanks to goals from Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Volland (20'), 2-0 Alario (25')
Red card: Polter (64')
Having lost 4-0 to Dortmund in the Bundesliga and 2-1 to Lokomotiv in the UEFA Champions League, Peter Bosz's side were determined to get back on track and snap a three-game winless run in all competitions. They thought they had taken the lead through Lucas Alario on the quarter-hour mark, but the goal was ruled out for interference by Kevin Volland, who had strayed offside. The German striker atoned for his error shortly afterwards, firing a low drive past Rafal Gikiewicz for 1-0 after a fortunate deflection off Christopher Trimmel. Alario was also on the scoresheet five minutes later following a fine interception from Wendell, picking out the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area. The visitors failed to muster a single shot on goal in the first half as Leverkusen went in to the break with a two-goal cushion.
Union coach Urs Fischer rang the changes at the start of the second half, making all three of his substitutions by the hour mark – but his attempts to spark his side into life backfired when Sebastian Polter was sent off within three minutes of coming on, for a reckless challenge on Julian Baumgartlinger. That put the result beyond doubt – the only question was whether Leverkusen would add gloss to the scoreline. Mitchell Weiser and Kerem Demirbay both went closing after coming off the bench, while Charles Aranguiz squandered a fine opportunity and Kai Havertz rattled the crossbar. There was no third goal in the end but it was still a straightforward day at the office for Bosz's men as they picked up their third victory of the season.
- Volland opened the scoring with the game's first attempt on goal. Last season, he gave Leverkusen a 1-0 lead with five of his 14 Bundesliga goals.
- Alario opened his account for 2019/20. It was the Argentine's first goal since the final game of last season, when he scored a hat-trick against Hertha Berlin to take his tally for the campaign to nine goals.
- Leverkusen have now won both of their meetings with Union Berlin. Their only previous game came in the DFB Cup in 2017/18, with Die Werkself easing to a 4-1 win.
- Leverkusen captain Lars Bender made his 300th appearance for the club in all competitions.
- Leverksen defender Jonathan Tah was on the bench in the Bundesliga for the first time since 20 September 2017.
- Havertz, just three months past his 20th birthday, is only seven games away from a century of Bundesliga appearances for Leverkusen.
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Dragovic, S. Bender, Wendell – Baumgartlinger (Demirbay 70'), Aranguiz – L. Bender (c) (Weiser 67'), Havertz, Amiri (Paulinho 83'), Volland – Alario
Unused subs: Özcan, Retsos, Tah, Diaby, Sinkgraven, Bellarabi
Out: Bailey (muscle tear), Pohjanpalo (ankle)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Union: Gikiewicz – Trimmel (c), Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Lenz (Reichel 49') – Becker (Gogia 46'), Gentner, Andrich, Bülter – Andersson, Ingvartsen (Polter 61')
Unused subs: Nicolas, Mees, Ujah, Kroos, Schmiedebach, Parensen
Out: Prömel (knee), Subotic (suspended)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Watch: Alario: "I wanted to prove to the coach that I can play"