History-making Bayer Leverkusen move back top with win over Union Berlin


Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen saw off Union Berlin 4-0 on Sunday to equal Pep Guardiola's record-holding Bayern Munich team of 2015/16 for the best start to a season in Bundesliga history.

Leverkusen 4-0 Union
Goals: 1-0
Grimaldo (assist: Wirtz) 23', 2-0 Kossounou (assist: Hofmann) 57', 3-0 Tah (assist: Grimaldo) 73', 4-0 Tella (assist: Adli) 84'

Having seen Bayern move top on Saturday, Leverkusen were hoping to return to the summit and make history in the process by beating Urs Fischer's struggling Union. As the form books suggested, Leverkusen quickly set about their work and were camped in the visitors' half, looking for an opener almost from the first minute. Their pressure finally paid off through another stunning Alejandro Grimaldo goal that followed a slick interchange between the wing-back and Florian Wirtz. Had it not been for Fredriw Rönnow between the Union posts denying Victor Boniface and Jeremie Frimpong, Leverkusen would have been out of sight at half-time.

Having been forced into an early change due to an injury to Leonardo Bonucci, Fischer called on the services of club captain Christopher Trimmel when the teams returned for the second period. Despite Union' more positive start to the half, Leverkusen soon doubled their advantage. Odilon Kossounou provided the goal, his first for the club, by racing onto Jonas Hofmann's corner and heading home from close range. Another corner, this time taken by Grimaldo, caused yet more havoc in the Union box for Leverkusen's third as Jonathan Tah expertly fired home. Nathan Tella added a fourth late on with his maiden Bundesliga strike to seal a victory that moves Leverkusen back top, and Union bottom.

Watch: Granit Xhaka talks Leverkusen 'hunger'

Match stats

  • Grimaldo has now scored six league goals and provided three more assists in 11 Bundesliga appearances. This was his first top-flight goal at the BayArena since joining the club in the summer.
  • Wirtz has been involved in five goals in his last five Bundesliga appearances (two goals, three assists). Hofmann, meanwhile, now has been involved in 10 league goals this term (five goals, five assists).
  • Die Werkself have scored at least two goals in all 11 Bundesliga games so far this season. They are only the second team to manage that in one term - along with this campaign's Bayern Munich.
  • Alonso’s Leverkusen have made the joint-best start of any team in Bundesliga history at this stage in the season, with 31 points after 11 games. Guardiola’s Bayern in 2015/16 also took 31 points from the first 11 matchdays.
  • Nine straight Bundesliga defeats extends Union's unwanted club record and is one more than they lost across the entirety of 2022/23.
  • Die Eisernen have failed to score in any of their last three Bundesliga games and are 419 minutes without a goal. It is another club record.

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Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Hincapié - Frimpong (Tella 81'), Palacios (Andrich 87'), Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Adli 81'), Wirtz (Mbamba 87') - Boniface (Hložek 87')
Unused subs: Kovář, Stanišić, Amiri, Puerta
Out: Arthur (thigh), Schick (muscular), Tapsoba (hand)
Coach: Xabi Alonso 

Union: Rønnow - Jaeckel, Bonucci (Knoche 24'), Leite - Král - Juranović (Trimmel 46'), Laïdouni, Haberer, Roussillon (Gosens 68') - Becker (c) (Aaronson 64'), Fofana (Behrens 68')
Unused subs: Busk, Tousart, Kemlein, Hollerbach
Out: Doekhi (knock), Khedira (suspended), Schäfer (foot)
Coach: Urs Fischer