Alejandro Grimaldo magic unlocks Wolfsburg as Bayer Leverkusen cement top spot


Alejandro Grimaldo was the difference-maker once again for Bayer Leverkusen on Matchday 25, providing a sensational assist for Nathan Tella as Xabi Alonso’s side beat 10-man Wolfsburg 2-0 to consolidate their 10-point lead at the Bundesliga summit.

Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Wolfsburg
Goals: 1-0 Tella 37' (assist: Grimaldo), 2-0 Wirtz 86' (assist: Palacios)
Sent off: Jenz (28')

Wolfsburg, without a win in 2024 coming into this game, clearly hadn’t read the script prior to kick-off and gave Leverkusen a couple of nervy moments in the first quarter of an hour, but Jonas Wind was unable to get a shot away from promising positions, while Cedric Zesiger drew a fingertip save from Lukas Hrádecký from distance. Florian Wirtz served a reminder that the Wolves would need to be on their guard though, hitting the post after collecting a delightful Granit Xhaka pass. It was a warning Moritz Jenz failed to heed, with the Wolfsburg defender sent off for a second bookable offence a short while later, flinging momentum further Leverkusen’s way. They made their numerical advantage count before the interval thanks to a moment of magic from Grimaldo, who brilliantly outfoxed Sebastiaan Bornauw with a turn inside the penalty area before crossing for Nathan Tella to head in the opening goal.

Leverkusen remained the better team in the second half, but aside from Piero Hincapie narrowly failing to make contact with a Tella cross and Wirtz hitting the wall with a free-kick, Alonso’s charges struggled to carve out any meaningful chances. Amine Adli was brought on with a view to changing that and although the French winger soon went close with a header, Leverkusen remained in second gear, happy to play keep-ball and force Wolfsburg to chase the game. Nevertheless, Xhaka and Grimaldo still had speculative long-range efforts as the clock ticked on, Borja Iglesias’ deflected attempt curled wide following a neat turn inside the box and a swerving Jonas Hofmann thunderbolt brought a fine save from Koen Casteels. Leverkusen finally put the game to bed in the 86th minute when Wirtz volleyed in an exquisite pass from Exequiel Palacios to continue Die Werkself's relentless march towards the Meisterschale. 

Match stats

  • Lenz was sent off for the first time in his Bundesliga career. 
  • Wirtz hit the woodwork for a league-high sixth time this season.
  • Grimaldo provided his 10th assist of the campaign - only Bayern's Leroy Sané has more (11).
  • Tella's goal was his fifth of the season, four of which have come since the turn of the year.
  • Leverkusen are now 36 games unbeaten in all competitions this season.
  • Wirtz's goal was his sixth of the season and first in 2024. 

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Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Hincapié (Adli 59') - Stanišić, Palacios (Andrich 90'), Xhaka, Grimaldo - Tella (Hofmann 76'), Wirtz (Hložek 90') - Schick (Iglesias 76')
Unused subs: Lomb, Kossounou, Mbamba, Puerta
Out: Arthur (thigh), Boniface (groin), Frimpong (suspended)
Coach: Xabi Alonso

Wolfsburg: Casteels - Baku, Lacroix, Jenz, Zesiger (Wimmer 87') - Arnold (c), Gerhardt (Behrens 87') - Tiago Tomás (Sarr 63'), Majer (Vranckx 63'), Paredes - Wind (Bornauw 32')
Unused subs: Pervan, Rogério, Fischer, Svanberg
Out: Kaminski (ill), Mæhle (suspended)
Coach: Niko Kovač