Jeremie Frimpong bagged a brace as Bayer Leverkusen ended their losing start to the season with a 3-0 win away at Mainz on Matchday 4 in the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen boss Gerardo Seoane said before the game that they had focused on defensive work during the week as Die Werkself look to turn their season around after losing the first four competitive games. They had to survive some early Mainz momentum as Lukas Hradecky denied Angelo Fulgini and Silvan Widmer and Bayer came through an opening quarter hour unscathed for the first time this term. They then found the luck that had evaded them so far in 2022/23 when Exequiel Palacios’s effort from the edge of the box went in off Jonathan Burkardt. The visitors then took advantage of two defensive mistakes by the 05ers as Frimpong grabbed a quickfire brace, first tapping in Moussa Diaby’s square ball after running in behind and then rounding Robin Zentner after a mix-up at the back to slot home.
Mainz boss Bo Svensson made a triple change at the break as he sought to overturn the three-goal deficit. It was a much improved performance by the hosts as they controlled the play but found no way through a well organised Leverkusen line-up as they looked to defend their lead. Bayer’s task was made harder when Piero Hincapie was sent off for a second yellow card with around 15 minutes to go. Aaron Martin struck the crossbar, Karim Onisiwo fired wide on the spin and Widmer sliced an effort horribly wide as the hosts continued to create chances. Mitchel Bakker was then given a second yellow as well as Leverkusen ended with nine men but held on to their 3-0 lead to earn their first points of the season.
- Frimpong bagged his first Bundesliga brace having only scored once before in 28 Bundesliga appearances. All three goals have come away from home.
- 3-0 was Leverkusen’s highest half-time advantage in a Bundesliga game since leading Paderborn by the same score in January 2020.
- It was the first time since May 2020 that Mainz had shipped three goals in the first half of a home game (5-0 loss to RB Leipzig).
- Despite conceding three at the MEWA Arena for the first time since May 2021, Mainz have still let in the fewest goals at home of all Bundesliga teams since the start of 2021/22 (14).
- Leverkusen came into this match having lost the first three games of a Bundesliga season for the second time in their history. It first happened in 2018/19, before they picked up their first win on Matchday 4 – also against Mainz.
Mainz: Zentner - Bell, Hack (Tauer 46’), Leitsch - Widmer (c), Kohr (Barreiro 66’), Stach, Aaron (Caci 73’) - Fulgini (Lee 46’) - Burkardt (Burgzorg 46’), Onisiwo
Unused subs: Dahmen, Barkok, Fernandes, Mustapha
Out: da Costa (pubic bone), Ingvartsen (knee)
Coach: Bo Svensson
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong (Kossounou 71’), Andrich, Palacios (Aranguiz 71’), Bakker - Demirbay (Amiri 81’) - Diaby (Fosu-Mensah 81’), Schick (Azmoun 83')
Unused subs: Lomb, Paulinho, Sinkgraven, Hlozek
Out: Adli (collarbone), Bellarabi (knee), Lunev (thigh), Wirtz (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane
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