Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen blew former Bundesliga leaders Union Berlin away with five unanswered goals in a stunning second half.
Bayer Leverkusen 5-0 Union Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Andrich 46' (assist: Demirbay), 2-0 Diaby 56' (assist: Frimpong), 3-0 Diaby 58' (assist: Bakker), 4-0 Hlozek 68' (assist: Amiri), 5-0 Bakker 76' (assist: Hlozek)
Having made their worst-ever start to a Bundesliga season, Leverkusen were understandably wary of welcoming the side that had been on top of the Bundesliga for seven matchdays this season. Both sides came into this one having exerted themselves in European competition during the week. Those efforts clearly took their toll, for the first half at the BayArena was one to forget for fans of either team. As the drizzle drifted across the pitch, a Nadiem Amiri shot and Diogo Leite's header off target was the best Leverkusen or Union could muster.
What followed in the second half, then, was nothing short of sensational. Both sides may have needed to shift up a couple of gears, but it was Leverkusen who did so to devastating effect. Robert Andrich headed home from Kerem Demirbay's corner and Union had their first warning. What really rocked The Irons to their core, however, was soon to follow. Union were on the attack when Leverkusen attempted, and failed, with a breakaway. A back pass should have been dealt with by stand-in goalkeeper Lennart Grill - far outside of his box and playing away at his parent club - but the custodian dallied and allowed Jeremie Frimpong to pounce. He fed Moussa Diaby who could run it all the way to goal before firing in. Bayer's third had a similar feel, with Union again foraging up front before being hit on the break. This time Mitchel Bakker released Diaby who added the finish. Adam Holzek's clever finish to Amiri's pass made it four, before Bakker added a fifth with a left-footer across the distraught Grill.
- This was Leverkusen's biggest win of the season.
- Union conceded five in a Bundesliga game for only the fourth time.
- It is the first time the Irons conceded more than two goals in the Bundesliga this season.
- Hlozek scored for the first time in the Bundesliga.
- Diaby scored in his third home game in a row and registered his third brace in the Bundesliga.
Watch: Andrich praises Leverkusen's mental strength
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou, Tapsoba (Tah 69'), Hincapie - Frimpong (Fosu-Mensah 77'), Amiri, Andrich, Demirbay (Palacios 55'), Bakker - Diaby (Adli 69'), Hlozek (Hudson-Odoi 77')
Unused subs: Lunev, Sertdemir, Azhil, Bellarabi
Out: Aranguiz (calf), Azmoun (muscular), Schick (adductors), Wirtz (fitness)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Union: Grill - Baumgartl, Knoche, Leite - Trimmel (c), Thorsby (Seguin 59'), Khedira (Pantovic 69'), Haberer (Skarke 75'), Ryerson - Becker (Michel 59'), Jordan (Behrens 59')
Unused subs: Busk, Gießelmann, Jaeckel, Haraguchi
Out: Möhwald (fitness), Rönnow (muscular), Schäfer (foot)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Watch: Baumgartl explains Union's loss
Japan's Bundesliga core that beat Germany
With eight Germany-based players in their World Cup squad, Japan had plenty of inside knowledge to stun the four-time world champions.
German clubs on tour
Dortmund are in Asia, Frankfurt went to Japan, while Leverkusen, Cologne, Stuttgart and HSV headed to the USA...
5 reasons Germany will beat Spain
Some of the Bundesliga's finest can help Germany get the job done in Group E...