Bayer Leverkusen moved up to second place in the Bundesliga standings as they continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-0 triumph away to Schalke on Sunday.
With the Royal Blues on an unwanted 25-game winless streak in the league prior to kick-off, Leverkusen began briskly, eager to further shake their hosts' fragile confidence. It was not long before they edged ahead, with Malick Thiaw heading into his own net under pressure from Aleksandar Dragovic following a corner. Leverkusen should have been out of sight by half-time, but Leon Bailey couldn't beat Michael Langer in a one-on-one, while Patrik Schick flicked wide from close range after connecting with Moussa Diaby's pinpoint delivery. There was precious little to see from Schalke in the final third, and although they did have the ball in the net at one point - Mark Uth teeing up Nassim Boujellab to score - but it was chalked off for offside. The visitors looked comfortable otherwise and had 70 per cent of possession and 12 shots on goal by the time the interval arrived.
The match followed a similar pattern in the second half, with Leverkusen superior all over the pitch. Schick went close to adding to the scoreline but just couldn't get his head on Bailey's floated cross. It mattered little though, as the away side extended their lead anyway through Julian Baumgartlinger, whose glancing header from another Bailey corner flashed beyond the reach of Langer. Schalke were thrown a lifeline midway through the half when Daley Sinkgraven brought down Suat Serdar inside the penalty area, but Steven Skrzybski's spot-kick was saved by Lukas Hradecky, who also kept out Benito Raman’s follow-up. Schick killed the game off in the closing stages, mercilessly rifling home from Nadiem Amiri's through-ball to lift Peter Bosz's side into second place, just a point behind leaders Bayern Munich.
- Michael Langer made just his second Bundesliga appearance here, 13 years and 271 days since his first. That was on 10 March 2007 for Stuttgart in a 0-0 draw against Wolfsburg. Only one player in Bundesliga history had more time between two games: Wolfgang Böhni played for Karlsruher in 1966 and then again in 1983 for Mannheim.
- Schalke scored their second own goal of the season here – more than any other club. It was also their 50th own goal in the Bundesliga overall.
- Leverkusen have now scored a league-high four goals from corners this term.
- Skrzybski took and missed his first penalty in the Bundesliga.
- The last time Hradecky saved a penalty in the Bundesliga was also against Schalke, keeping out an effort from Daniel Caligiuri in May 2019.
- Baumgartlinger has scored two of his seven top-flight goals with his head - both against Schalke.
Watch: Hradecky: "Everyone's enjoying playing for Leverkusen"
Schalke: Langer - Thiaw, Stambouli, Kabak - Boujellab (Hoppe 65'), Mascarell (c), Serdar, Oczipka (Mendyl 83') - Uth - Skrzybski (Bozdogan 83'), Raman
Unused subs: Ahlers, Ludewig, Schöpf, Becker, Mercan, Calhanoglu
Out: Bentaleb (not included), Fährmann (groin), Harit (not included), Ibisevic (not included), Kutucu (not included), Matondo (knee), Nastasic (not included), Paciencia (knee), Rönnow (hamstring), Sane (knee)
Coach: Manuel Baum
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c) (Weiser 83'), Tah, Dragovic, Sinkgraven - Wirtz (Tapsoba 73'), Baumgartlinger, Amiri - Bailey, Schick (Bellarabi 79'), Diaby
Unused subs: Lomb, S. Bender, Jedvaj, Wendell, Gedikli, Türkamen
Out: Alario (knee), Aranguiz (Achilles tendon), Arias (ankle), Demirbay (not included), Palacios (back), Paulinho (knee)
Coach: Peter Bosz