Five-star Bayer Leverkusen pick Borussia Dortmund apart


Bayer Leverkusen closed the gap on second-placed Borussia Dortmund to five points with a swashbuckling 5-2 victory over BVB on Sunday.

Borussia Dortmund 2-5 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Akanji (o.g. 11'), 1-1 Frimpong (o.g. 16'), 1-2 Wirtz 20' (assist: Bellarabi), 1-3 Andrich (28'), 1-4 Tah (54'), 1-5 Diaby 87' (assist: Frimpong), 2-5 Tigges (90'+1)

This fixture averaged well over three goals per game across the 85 Bundesliga meetings prior to kick-off, and the teams began as if determine to continue that trend. Both pressed high early on, but it was Leverkusen who struck first when their pressure forced Dan-Axel Zagadou into a mistake, with Manuel Akanji scoring an own goal from the resulting attack. Dortmund produced the perfect response though, equalising through a Jeremie Frimpong own goal just five minutes later, the Leverkusen defender heading a Julian Brandt free-kick into his own net. Unfazed, the visitors stuck to their game plan and took the lead when Wirtz clinically finished off a textbook counter-attack, before Robert Andrich put daylight between the teams at half-time with a superb direct free-kick from the edge of the box.

There was more of the same after the interval. Brandt had the first sight of goal with a well-struck drive from distance that drew a fine save from stand-in goalkeeper Lennart Grill, before the visitors pounced again. Kerem Demirbay’s corner from the right was only half cleared towards the edge of the box, where Jonathan Tah was lurking to smash in a brilliant volley. That goal effectively ended the game as a contest, although Dortmund deserve credit for battling until the end. Gio Reyna, making his comeback after several months out through injury, had a chance to pull a goal back after being played through by Jude Bellingham, only for Grill to deny him. The Leverkusen goalkeeper also kept out a curling Bellingham effort moments later to help keep the hosts at bay, before Moussa Diaby capped the win with a late fifth on the break. Substitute Steffen Tigges managed to pull a goal back for BVB in stoppage time, but it was too little too late as Leverkusen cemented their spot in third place, reducing the gap to Dortmund to five points while increasing their cushion over fourth to four.

Watch: Kobel admits he'll lose sleep after defeat

Match stats

  • Reyna was back in the Dortmund squad here for the first time since 27 August 2021.
  • Leverkusen have now scored a league-high 13 times in the opening 15 minutes of their league matches this season.
  • Die Werkself were the beneficiaries of a third own goal in 2021/22, more than any other team.
  • Wirtz scored his first Bundesliga goal since 28 November 2021, ending a seven-game barren run.
  • Andrich scored his second direct free-kick in the Bundesliga. It was also Leverkusen's first such goal since 17 March 2019 (Leon Bailey).
  • Leverkusen have already scored 54 goals this season, bettering their total from the full 2020/21 campaign.

Watch: Reyna says he's focused on regaining full strength


Dortmund: Kobel - Meunier (Wolf 46'), Akanji, Zagadou, Guerreiro - Brandt, Dahoud, Bellingham - Reus (c) (Tigges 84'), Malen (Moukoko 79'), Hazard (Reyna 60')
Unused subs: Hitz, Schulz, Hummels, Witsel, Pongracic
Out: Can (groin), Haaland (groin), Morey (knee), Schmelzer (knee)
Coach: Marco Rose

Leverkusen: Grill - Frimpong (Fosu-Mensah 88'), Tah (c), Hincapie, Bakker - Andrich, Demirbay - Bellarabi (Kossounou 60'), Wirtz (Aranguiz 81'), Diaby (Adli 88') - Schick (Alario 81')
Unused subs: Lomb, Paulinho, Sertdemir
Out: Baumgartlinger (knee), Hradecky (not included), Lunev (ankle), Palacios (back), Sinkgraven (groin), Tapsoba (international duty)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane

Watch: Tah: "We want to be up there"