A Jeremie Frimpong-inspired Bayer Leverkusen returned to the top of the Bundesliga table as they defeated Wolfsburg 2-1 away from home on Saturday afternoon.
Wolfsburg 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Frimpong 13' (assist: Boniface), 1-1 Lacroix 41', 1-2 Grimaldo 62' (assist: Frimpong)
Although Borussia Dortmund's 1-0 victory over Werder Bremen on Friday knocked Leverkusen off top spot, Xabi Alonso's men had the opportunity to go straight back to the summit. And, while Maximilian Arnold almost put the hosts ahead within the opening few minutes, firing narrowly wide from distance following Lukáš Hrádecký's mishit clearance, Die Werkself dominated the early stages and took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark. Victor Boniface, as he so often has been this term, was heavily involved, holding the ball up well before finding Frimpong at the back post, and the Dutchman volleyed over the line despite Pavao Pervan's best efforts. That goal, though, appeared to inspire Wolfsburg, who responded well and went close through Tiago Tomás on a couple of occasions. They had to wait for the equaliser, but it arrived as half-time approached, with Maxence Lacroix taking advantage of some pinball in the penalty area to fire home from close range.
There was a slight lull in proceedings at the start of the second period, as both sides looked to stand firm before going in search of the lead. Jonas Wind fired an effort over the bar, before Boniface did the same at the other end but, in the 61st minute, Leverkusen restored their advantage. On this occasion, Frimpong turned provider, getting to the byline well before playing a ball across the box in the direction of Alejandro Grimaldo. There were plenty of bodies between the Spaniard and the goal, yet one of those, Arnold, got in the way and inadvertently helped the effort fly beyond Pervan. Unlike for the opener, Wolfsburg struggled to muster a strong reaction and, besides two very late Lovro Majer efforts, Leverkusen were able to see out the match relatively easily. While they continue to set the pace amongst the German elite, Wolfsburg drop down to ninth, having lost as many games as they have won (four) in the 2023/24 Bundesliga.
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- Boniface has been involved in the opening goal in five Bundesliga matches this term (3 goals, 2 assists).
- Four players have now scored at least three league goals for Leverkusen this season - Boniface, Hofmann, Frimpong and Grimaldo.
- Only Boniface (7 goals, 3 assists) has been involved in more Bundesliga goals this campaign than Frimpong (3 goals, 4 assists) for Leverkusen.
- Lacroix's strike was Wolfsburg's first in 501 minutes at the Volkswagen Arena against Leverkusen.
- For the first time this campaign, Wolfsburg failed to pick up all three points at home.
- Wolfsburg have not won on home turf to Leverkusen since 31 October 2015 (D1, L6).
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Wolfsburg: Pervan - Jenz, Lacroix, Bornauw (Kamiński 78') - Baku, Svanberg (Majer 71'), Arnold (c), Maehle - Gerhardt (Paredes 78'), Tomás (Sarr 46') - Wind
Unused subs: Schulze, Zesiger, Cozza, Pejčinović, Wimmer
Out: Casteels (abdominals), Černý (ill), Fischer (knee), Nmecha (knee), Rogério (calf),
Coach: Niko Kovač
Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Stanišić (Kossounou 88'), Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Tella 88'), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Amiri 88'), Adli (Wirtz 60') - Boniface
Unused subs: Kovář, Hincapié, Andrich, Schick, Hložek
Out: Arthur (thigh), Fosu-Mensah (knee)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
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