bundesliga

Lucas Alario maintains Bayer Leverkusen's unbeaten start with brace against Freiburg

Lucas Alario scored his second consecutive Bundesliga brace as Bayer Leverkusen won 4-2 in Freiburg to extend their unbeaten start and move fourth in the table.

Freiburg 2-4 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Höler (3'), 1-1 Alario (29'), 1-2 Alario (42'), 1-3 Amiri (64'), 3-2 Petersen (72'), 2-4 Tah (76')

Freiburg got off to the perfect start when Lukas Kübler's through ball down the right wing found Lucas Höler in behind Edmond Tapsoba and the Leverkusen defence, with the striker making no mistake as he fired past Lukas Hradecky with the outside of his right boot inside just three minutes. Jonathan Schmid then had a thumping volley ruled out for an earlier offside before Bayer were handed a lifeline by VAR as referee Benjamin Cortus overturned his decision to send Sven Bender off for his challenge on Höler as last man. The visitors never looked back from that moment as Alario continued his hot scoring form to latch onto a poor pass back from Nicolas Höfler and slot home under Florian Müller. The Argentine then completed the turnaround before the break as Freiburg again shot themselves in the foot by failing to clear their lines. Lars Bender's low cross from the right was then clinically dispatched by Leverkusen's top scorer off the inside of the near post.

Vincenzo Grifo came close to an immediate response after half-time as he bent a shot just wide of the far post. A third mistake by Höfler again proved costly as Leverkusen extended their advantage just past the hour mark when Florian Wirtz intercepted a pass and sent Nadiem Amiri away, who cut back onto his right foot and rifled a shot past Müller from the edge of the box. Freiburg's all-time top scorer Nils Petersen had come on just a moment earlier and did what the Bundesliga's top-scoring substitute of all time does so well by tapping home a drilled low cross from Grifo to get the hosts back to within one goal of parity and extend his record to 26 goals from the bench. That hope of a point didn't last long, though, when a Leverkusen substitute, Jonathan Tah, headed home a Kerem Demirbay corner with a quarter of an hour remaining to move Die Werkself up into fourth place.

Match stats

  • Höler's goal was Freiburg's earliest of the season, although they have a league-best four in the opening 15 minutes together with Bayern Munich. It was their earliest goal since Höler again scored against Bayern in March 2019.
  • Alario has scored in three straight Bundesliga matches for the first time and is Leverkusen's top scorer so far this term with five goals in as many league games. He'd never previously had more than one goal to his name after six matchdays.
  • The Argentine has now scored braces in the last two Bundesliga games. It’s his seventh overall in four campaigns.
  • Amiri scored just his second Bundesliga goal for Leverkusen and his first away from home.
  • Leverkusen have started a Bundesliga season unbeaten in their opening six games for the first time since 2009/10 under Jupp Heynckes.
  • Freiburg's run of five games unbeaten at home in the league came to an end. Their previous defeat at the Schwarzwald-Stadion had also came against Leverkusen on Matchday 29 of last season.

Watch: Tah on Alario: "He's on fire!"

Line-ups

Freiburg: Müller – Kübler (Petersen 63'), Lienhart, Heintz, Günter (c) – Schmid, Santamaria, Höfler, Grifo (Jeong 79') – Höler (Demirovic 79'), Sallai (Kwon 79')
Unused subs: Uphoff, Gulde, Schlotterbeck, Tempelmann, Boukhalfa
Out: Abrashi (match fitness), Flekken (elbow), Haberer (ankle), Til (not included)
Coach: Christian Streich

Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c), S. Bender (Tah 64'), Tapsoba, Sinkgraven - Baumgartlinger (Demirbay 65') - Bailey, Wirtz, Amiri, Diaby (Bellarabi 79') – Alario (Palacios 89')
Unused subs: Lomb, Dragovic, Jedvaj, Wendell, Weiser
Out: Aranguiz (muscular), Arias (ankle), Paulinho (knee), Schick (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz

Watch: Bosz: "It was good, but we have to start better"