bundesliga

Florian Wirtz and Moussa Diaby too hot for RB Leipzig as Bayer Leverkusen go third

Florian Wirtz and Moussa Diaby were both on the scoresheet as Bayer Leverkusen’s devastating attackers proved too strong for RB Leipzig in a 3-1 win on Sunday.

RB Leipzig 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Wirtz 21' (assist: Palacios), 0-2 Diaby 34' (assist: Tah), 1-2 Silva 62' (assist: Nkunku), 1-3 Frimpong 64' (assist: Diaby)

Having each recorded big wins in Europe during the week – Leipzig beat Club Brugge 5-0 and Leverkusen defeated Celtic 3-2 – both teams began on the front foot as they sought to carry their momentum into the Bundesliga. Leverkusen soon swarmed over their hosts, though, and undeterred after Diaby had a goal disallowed in the eighth minute, they took the lead through Wirtz, who applied a smart finish to a superb Exequiel Palacios pass. Die Werkself deservedly doubled their lead before the interval, this time Diaby showcasing his technique to bring down Jonathan Tah’s ball over the top before rifling past Josep Martinez in the Leipzig goal.

Having offered little by way of attacking threat in the first half, Leipzig reemerged for the second period with far greater purpose. Konrad Laimer gave an indication of their intent with a curling effort within seconds of the restart that Lukas Hradecky could only parry for a corner. They gradually grew into the game and managed to pull a goal back through Andre Silva’s brilliant header from Christopher Nkunku’s cross, but any hopes of a comeback were instantly dashed when Jeremie Frimpong drilled in his first Bundesliga goal less than two minutes later. The home side refused to give in, though, and could have set up a grandstand finish when they were awarded a penalty for handball against Edmond Tapsoba, but Domink Szoboszlai struck the post with his spot-kick, allowing Leverkusen to see the result to the final whistle and pick up their seventh league win of the season.

Match stats

  • Wirtz set a new single-season personal best in scoring his fifth Bundesliga goal of 2021/22.
  • The midfielder is also the first player under the age of 19 to score more than 10 top-flight goals in Bundesliga history - he now has 11.
  • Palacios' assist was the first time he has had a direct hand in a goal in the Bundesliga.
  • Diaby equalled his single-season personal best with his goal (five in 2021/22).
  • Nkunku has scored, assisted or both in six of his last eight Bundesliga appearances.
  • Silva netted his 43rd Bundesliga goal, becoming the all-time highest scoring Portuguese player in the league's history, overtaking former Werder Bremen forward Hugo Almeida.

Watch: Hradecky: "Wirtz makes history almost every game!"

Line-ups

Leipzig: Martinez - Mukiele, Klostermann (Bonnah 84), Gvardiol, Angelino - Nkunku, Laimer (Henrichs 73'), Kampl (c) (Adams 73'), Forsberg (Haidara 84') - Silva, Brobbey (Szoboszlai 43')
Unused subs: Tschauner, Moriba, Raebiger, Wosz
Out: Gulacsi (not included), Halstenberg (ankle), Olmo (hamstring), Orban (not included), Poulsen (not included), Saracchi (knee), Simakan (not included)
Coach: Jesse Marsch

Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Frimpong, Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie - Andrich, Palacios - Adli (Aranguiz 62'), Wirtz (Amiri 88'), Diaby (Alario 88') - Schick (Kossounou 62')
Unused subs: Lunev, Retsos, Demirbay, Sinkgraven, Paulinho
Out: Bakker (ankle), Bellarabi (thigh), Baumgartlinger (knee), Fosu-Mensah (knee)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane

Watch: Silva: “I promise we’ll keep fighting”