Victor Boniface bagged an impressive Bundesliga double as Bayer Leverkusen made the division sit up and take note once more with a 3-0 win at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Up and running with a 3-2 win against title hopefuls RB Leipzig last weekend, Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen 2.0 continued to gel with confidence at Borussia-Park. Granit Xhaka previously made 140 appearances for Gladbach prior to moving to England and the Swiss midfielder impressed on his return to face the Foals. On 18 minutes, he floated a pristine pass to the far post where fellow new Bayer signing Alejandro Grimaldo nodded to recent-arrival Boniface to head in his maiden Bundesliga goal. Xhaka then had a spectacular volley ruled out for offside as the visitors toyed with Gerardo Seoane's beleagured team. A brief Borussia rally saw Tomas Cvancara just fail to convert Franck Honorat's centre, but the chance failed to bother Gladbach's ultra-slick opponents. Jonas Hofmann and Boniface could have doubled their team's advantage before Jonathan Tah managed to do so, the defender finishing off one more fine move involving Xhaka and Hofmann for his second goal in as many weeks.
Die Fohlen shipped four goals in a dramatic 4-4 draw at Augsburg last week and to the audible annoyance of their fans, they were three behind here not long after the restart. As if they didn't have enough to contend with, the home side were undone by the ever-alert Florian Wirtz, whose keenly guided through-pass allowed Boniface to fire home. Jonas Omlin then smartly saved from Hofmann while at the other end, Alassane Plea and Marvin Friedrich offered Borussia some respite with a couple of efforts that didn't miss by much. Coach Seoane - once in charge at Leverkusen - continued to urge his charges forward and his instructions almost paid off when Ko Itakura powered an Honorat corner at goal which Lukas Hradecky saved spectacularly. Yet Bayer were never likely to be denied here and the visitors even had the luxury of introducing one more new signing before the end, with the Bayern Munich loanee Josip Stanisic adding more power to an increasingly impressive team.
- Boniface scored his first Bundesliga with his fifth shot in the German top flight.
- Leverkusen only managed five headed goals last season. They've managed two already this term.
- Tah scored in consecutive games for the first time in his Bundesliga career.
Gladbach only previosuly conceded seven goals after two matchdays on one other occasion: 1993/94 (in that season it reached eight).
- Die Werkself are now unbeaten in eight Bundesliga meetings with Gladbach (W7, D1) and have won their last five visits to Borussia-Park.
- Hofmann made 184 Bundesliga appearances in over seven years at Gladbach, scoring 40 goals and providing 37 assists.
Watch: Xabi Alonso targets more of the same
Gladbach: Omlin - Friedrich, Itakura (Ullrich 88'), Wöber - Honorat (Borges Sanches 79'), Weigl (c), Neuhaus (67'), Scally - Ngoumou (Hack 67'), Cvancara (Ranos 79'), Plea
Unused subs: Nicolas, Chiarodia, Jantschke, Herrmann
Out: Elvedi (precaution), Kramer (knee), Kone (knee), Lainer (cancer), Netz (muscular), Wolf (muscular)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou (Stanisic 81'), Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Arthur 69'), Palacios (Andrich 70'), Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Hlozek 81'), Wirtz - Boniface (Puerta 88')
Unused subs: Kovar, Fosu-Mensah, Amiri, Mbamba
Out: Adli (suspended), Azmoun (calf), Hincapie (suspended), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
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