bundesliga

Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen open new season with first goalless draw

Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen opened the 2020/21 Bundesliga season with the first goalless draw between the two sides in the German top-flight.

Wolfsburg 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen

The home side had already played two competitive matches this season in the DFB Cup and UEFA Europa League with two wins from two, and started the brightest of the two teams. Leverkusen were enjoying more possession but the home side did more with their time on the ball, with Xaver Schlager firing wide on 20 minutes. Florian Wirtz has the game's first big chance five minutes later as he broke into the Wolfsburg box, but debutant Maxence Lacroix made a superb challenge to block his shot on goal. The hosts wore a special home shirt for the 75th anniversary of the club, and John Brooks should have been celebrating in it after 34 minutes. The USMNT defender had a free header from Admir Mehmedi's volleyed-cross but missed the target from close range. Last season's top scorer for the Wolves, Wout Weghorst, had another big opportunity to open the scoring before the break as Mehmedi’s shot deflected his way, but Lukas Hradecky stayed big to make a crucial save.

The home side thought they had taken the lead 12 minutes into the second half when Joao Victor set up Mehmedi, but the Brazilian was offside when Renato Steffen's long ball to set him away was played. Leverkusen grew into the game after that, with Wirtz working hard and covering more ground than any Leverkusen player in the first 60 minutes. His blocked shot allowed Moussia Diaby to fire goalwards, forcing a save from Koen Casteels. New signing Patrik Schick came on for his Leverkusen debut just after the hour mark and had a chance to win the game in the final 10 minutes but couldn't keep a header on target from Nadiem Amiri's free-kick.

Match stats

  • This was the first goalless draw between Wolfsburg and Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
  • Weghorst was Wolfsburg's top scorer last season with 16 goals. Only Robert Lewandowski (34), Timo Werner (28) and Jadon Sancho (17) scored more league-wide.
  • Wolfsburg were Bundesliga champions in 2009. Leverkusen are five-time runners-up, but have never lifted the Meisterschale.
  • Wirtz overtook Havertz as Leverkusen's youngest ever debutant and scorer last term. He made his debut two weeks past his 17th birthday and scored his first goal - against Manuel Neuer no less - at the age of 17 years, one month and four days old.
  • Peter Bosz has won 57 percent of the games he has overseen since being appointed as Leverkusen coach in December 2018.
  • Die Werkself missed out on the Champions League places by two points last term, though, with Borussia Mönchengladbach pipping them to fourth place.

Watch: Hradecky on Wolfsburg 0-0 Leverkusen: "Two good goalkeepers"

Line-ups

Wolfsburg: Casteels (c) - Steffen, Lacroix, Brooks, Roussillon (Otavio 69') - Schlager, Arnold - Victor (Gerhardt 78'), Mehmedi (Klaus 69'), Brekalo – Weghorst
Unused subs: Pervan, Malli, Bialek, Marmoush, Ginczek, Siersleben
Out: Guilavogui (suspended), Mbabu (knee), Pongracic (glandular fever), William (knee)
Coach: Oliver Glasner

Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (Wendell 76') - Wirtz (Baumgartlinger 85'), Aranguiz (c), Demirbay (Amiri 63') - Bellarabi (Pohjanpalo 85'), Alario (Schick 63'), Diaby
Unused subs: Lomb, Tah, Dragovic, Palacios
Out: Bailey (match fitness), Paulinho (knee)
Coach: Peter Bosz