Watch: Xhaka: "I knew Grimaldo would score that free-kick"


Full time: Mainz 0-3 Leverkusen

With their fifth Bundesliga win of 2023/24, Bayer Leverkusen move onto 16 points for the campaign, the most they have ever managed at this stage of a season. An own goal from Sepp van den Berg set the visitors on their way and, despite being far from their best, Bayer added further strikes through Alejandro Grimaldo and Jonas Hofmann. Xabi Alonso's men take provisional pole position.

Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 90 minutes

Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 90 minutes
Through high-end camera technology and machine learning, the speed of each player is evaluated in real time. Top speed then means, the fastest measured single frame of a player/game.

Barkok denied

Barkok's shot from inside the area is blocked and loops into the grateful arms of Hradecky.

Stanišić game time

Bayer's Croatia international, Josip Stanišić - on loan from Bayern Munich - is sent on for the final few minutes. Nadiem Amiri is also subbed in.

Mainz change

The hosts make one more swap with Marco Richter on. On another day, the man he replaces, Karim Onisiwo, might have had a goal or two.

El Ghazi tries one

El Ghazi picks up the loose ball and arcs a shot from distance just past the far post. Hradecky probably had that covered.

Double swap

No goals for Victory Boniface this week, the striker comes off to be replaced by Adam Hložek. Granit Xhaka is also exiting this one to be replaced by Robert Andrich.

Ajorque on

Bo Svensson throws Ludovic Ajorque into the mix to see if the big striker can make a dent in the scoreline.

Boniface denied

Finally Boniface finds a way through. The Nigerian has time to pick his spot but he's swiped at it a bit and Zentner can make the save.

Gruda booked

Gruda goes in late on Palacios and that's a booking for the Mainz man.

Record breakers

Leverkusen have now racked up 20 goals this season, more than they've ever managed at this stage of a campaign. Still time for more here, too.

Desperate clearance

Here's the problem for Mainz: Leverkusen are now in party mood while the hosts' heads have understandably dropped. Adli gets another wicked cross in towards the far post. This one is cleared at the last.

Mainz changes

Hard to know what more Bo Svensson could have done here. Mainz have been good, but are somehow 3-0 down. Time for a triple swap. Krauß, El Ghazi and Barkok are on.

Clinical Bayer

Boniface goes down under a challenge on the left but that allows substitute Adli to scamper free. The cross is sent in towards Palacios, who misses the ball and looks to his right to see Hofmann arriving. The summer signing from Gladbach thwacks it first time and the ball flies in. Leverkusen are home free.

Jonas Hofmann


Jonas Hofmann
12 %
14.24 m

Bayer change

Florian Wirtz - who has been pretty anonymous in this game - is replaced by Adli.

Set-piece specialist

Grimaldo scores his second direct free kick this season having found the net in similar fashion against Bayern Munich recently.

Grimaldo the Great!

Pick that out! Grimaldo's free kick zips over the wall and flashes past Zentner's outstretched hand before hitting the back of the net. That's a beauty. Leverkusen double their lead.

Alejandro Grimaldo


Alejandro Grimaldo
6 %
20.88 m

Fernandes booked

Tapsoba slides a slick pass through for Boniface, who is clattered to the floor by Fernandes. Free kick in a dangerous position and a yellow card for Fernandes.

Gruda threat

Gruda goes down in the Leverkusen box under a challenge from Kossounou. The home fans are on their feet but the referee spotted an earlier infringement and the visitors get a free kick and a chance to breathe.

Awsome Hradecky

Onisiwo does well to win the corner and the 31-year-old forward is there again from the set-piece to power a header at the target. Hradecky pulls off an outstanding save to keep Bayer in front. Incredible stop.

Mainz back on the ball

The game has quickly shifted back into ints first-half pattern with Mainz moving the ball about and Leverkusen looking a touch out of sorts.

B04 sharper

Wirtz and Frimpong start with a lot more purpose this half. Could be that Xabi Alonso's half-time words are having an immediate effect.


Mainz get us going in the second half ....
+ 3

Break time

The referee brings an entertaining first half to a close. Leverkusen lead thanks to a Sepp van den Berg o.g. Despite being behind, Bo Svensson will be quite proud of how his team have largely kept high-flying Leverkusen at bay. Xabi Alonso, meanwhile, might opt for a strategy change at the break. Don't go anywhere!
+ 1

Boniface quiet

Leverkusen's in-form forward has only managed to get on the ball 12 times in this first half. That's fewer times than any other outfield player.

Running men

Hats off to the home fans who have never stopped getting behind their side during this game. Can the hosts repay their supporters with an equaliser before the break? They're certainly putting in a decent shift as they look for a way through.

Werkself probing

From a Leverkusen point of view, it's a good job they took the lead with that own goal earlier because Xabi Alonso's men are struggling to find a way through Mainz's compact formation.


Bell goes wild

Bell batters the ball out of the stadium, or almost does. A wild shot from the Mainz man stands in contrast to Mainz's generally flowing, composed build-up play so far in this game. Is frustration setting in for the hosts?

Gruda has a go

Gruda bounds forward and drives a low, left-footed shot at the target from distance. Hradecky is there again, this time diving to connect with his outstretched hand. Solid stop. Leverkusen quickly smash the loose ball clear.

Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 30 minutes

Speed check: The fastest player in the game after 30 minutes
Through high-end camera technology and machine learning, the speed of each player is evaluated in real time. Top speed then means, the fastest measured single frame of a player/game.

Onisiwo attempt

A fine, angled effort at goal from the Austrian is well dealt with by Hradecky, who dives across and holds on.

Mainz misery

Mainz have conceded at least one goal in their last 14 Bundesliga games. It's the longest such run of any team in in Germany's top flight right now.

Bell opportunity

The ball pings around a bit inside the B04 box and suddenly Bell is there to try and nudge goalwards. That's gone wide.

B04 happy campers

Leverkusen will be delighted with that as they hadn't looked particularly threatening at all in this game. It was Mainz's first own goal since January 2022.

Oh Mainz

Just when the hosts looked to be hitting their stride, an own goal has gone and scuppered Mainz's solid start to the game. Frimpong's centre is menacing, leading van den Berg to slide in and look to make contact. He does, but can only divert into his own net. Ouch.

Sepp van den Berg


Sepp van den Berg

Xhaka on the edge

The Leverkusen man climbs all over the back of Onisiwo and the referee comes across to have a word with the Swiss midfielder, who has already been booked, lest we forget.

Target practice

Leandro Barreiro Alejandro Grimaldo

Grimaldo sighter

Back up the other end and Leandro Barreiro concedes a free kick. It's a fair bit out and in front of the D but Grimaldo fancies a pop nonetheless. The ex-Benfica player wellies one but Robin Zentner has that covered all the way and the goalkeeper watches the ball fizz over the bar.

Mainz in the mood

Home coach Bo Svensson is on his feet applauding a tidy move from the hosts involving Gruda, Lee and Onisiwo. Mainz are playing some good stuff and have a passionate home crowd right behind them. Just what the hosts need.

Fernandes goes close

Fernandes curls the subsequent free kick into the side-netting and the crowd on the far side think it's in. Cheers go up momentarily. Not this time, 05ers.

Xhaka warning

Ooof, Xhaka is THIS close to conceding a penalty with a follow through challenge on Onisiwo, who gives it the roll around on the floor. The referee orders a free kick just outside the area and here comes the yellow card for Xhaka.

Palacios in pain

Lee thwacks Palacios on the calf and the B04 man collapses in a heap. That stung. The Argentinian grimaces and gets back to his feet. On we go.

Game on ...

Leverkusen get the ball rolling in this Matchday 6 fixture ...

We're all set

So, can Mainz pick up their first Bundesliga win since April or will Xabi Alonso's footballing machine make it seven victories in eight games in all competitions this season? We're about to find out?

Teams in tunnel

Plenty of high fives in the players' tunnel as both sides get ready to make their way out into the stadium. The announcer is reading through the teams all the while. It's almost time!

You'll never walk alone

That world famous club anthem has been adopted by Mainz and fans of the 05ers are belting it out as we await the appearance of both sides.

Glorious day!

The pitch at the MEWA Arena is getting a good soaking from the sprinklers as the sun shines down on the Rhineland-Palatinate. It's the prefect day for football!

Form guide

It's not difficult to see which side is brimming with confidence and who is need of a morale boost here. Leverkusen have collected 13 points in their five Bundesliga games to date while the hosts have just one point. A win for Bayer here would send the visitors provisionally top of the standings while the 05ers will be desperate to drag themselves off the foot of the table.

Mainz's new arrivals

Mainz's latest arrival, Joshua Guilavogui, is on the bench today. In fact, the 33 year old is one of five of Mainz's recent signings who are among the substitutes, namely El Ghazi, Krauß, Richter and Batz. The only newcomer in the starting line-up is Sepp van den Berg.

Mainz team news

A couple of changes for Mainz today with 19-year-old Brajan Gruda coming in for Ludovic Ajorque and Sepp van den Berg taking Tom Krauß's place. Dominik Kohr moves back into midfield for the 05ers.

Leverkusen team news

Xabi Alonso has now chosen the same starting line-up in five of his team's six Bundesliga games this season. The team's leading marksman Victor Boniface will look to add to his eight goal involvements (eight goals, two assists) and will be ably supported by Florian Wirtz and Jonas Hofmann in attack.

Mainz starting XI

Zentner (c) - Bell, Kohr, van den Berg - Da Costa, Barreiro, Kohr, Caci - Gruda, Lee - Onisiwo

Mainz subs

Batz, Guilavogui, Krauß, Papela, Barkok, Richter, El Ghazi, Ajorque

Leverkusen starting XI

Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong, Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann, Wirtz - Boniface

Leverkusen subs

Kovář, Stanišić, Hincapié, Andrich, Puerta, Amiri, Adli, Tella, Hložek

Watch: Bayer Leverkusen's renaissance under Xabi Alonso


Mainz team news

Anwar El Ghazi spoke of his happiness at joining Mainz in midweek, but admitted to still not being 100 percent match fit. The Dutchman made a substitute appearance in the defeat to Augsburg, having only linked up with the team for training 24 hours earlier, and should have some part to play this weekend. Bo Svensson is still without defender Andreas Hanche-Olsen, Maxim Leitsch and Silvan Widmer, but will have been pleased to see Ludovic Ajorque score on his return from injury last time out. Former Wolfsburg defensive specialist Joshua Guilavogui could make his debut after joining the club on a free transfer this week.

Leverkusen team news

With goals in his last two league games, World Cup winner Exequiel Palacios goes into the game bang in form and fresh from penning a contract extension through to 2028. Striker Patrik Schick is creeping closer to a return to first-team action, though it will likely come at some point in October. Arthur is Xabi Alonso's only other absentee.

Razor-sharp vs. blunt attack

Leverkusen have scored 17 goals after five matches for the first time, with only Bayern producing more (18). Die Werkself are league leaders for clear-cut chances, though, creating 27. Mainz are in the bottom two (seven), ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt (six).

Probable line-ups

Who’s set to play this weekend? Who’s going to miss out? Keep up to date with all the latest team news right here!

Watch: Leverkusen 2-3 Mainz - previous meeting

Mainz won a thriller against 10-man Leverkusen back in February, with Marcus Ingvartsen's penalty decisive.

Watch: Augsburg 2-1 Mainz - highlights

Mainz remain winless and bottom of the Bundesliga after blowing a 1-0 lead in defeat to Augsburg on Matchday 5.

Watch: Leverkusen 4-1 Heidenheim - highlights

Another Victor Boniface brace helped Leverkusen stay unbeaten and go back level on points with Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga.

Hello and welcome!

Thanks for joining us for build-up and live coverage of this Matchday 6 fixture between Mainz and Leverkusen.