Bayer Leverkusen is still unstoppable in the Bundesliga. With the 4-0 (1-0) win against 1. FC Union Berlin, Xabi Alonso’s team equaled FC Bayern Munich’s starting record. Like Pep Guardiola in the 2015/16 season, the Werkself have 31 out of 33 possible points after eleven games.
Alejandro Grimaldo (23rd), Odilon Kossounou (57th), Jonathan Tah (73rd) and Nathan Tella (83rd) also secured the twelfth competitive win in a row. Meanwhile, Union has lost in the Bundesliga for the ninth time in a row and is now last due to a worse goal difference.
Leverkusen and FC Bayern, on the other hand, are at the top – because Alonso’s team showed their class again after somewhat shaky performances. “This victory was definitely not priced in, because Union Berlin is still extremely dangerous. But we did well today.”said Jonas Hofmann at the sports show microphone.
Leverkusen’s Grimaldo with the next wow moment
From the start only one team played – and that was Leverkusen. The Werkself created several chances in the first few minutes, but Victor Boniface in particular lacked the accuracy in his shots. And Florian Wirtz also failed to get the ball past Frederik Rönnow into the Berlin goal (12th). But that was then taken over by a player for whom dream goals are hardly anything special anymore.
Grimaldo received the ball from Wirtz and tried it with his left foot from the corner of the penalty area – and the ball hit the far corner of the goal with full force (23′). It was the sixth goal of the season for the Spaniard, who had been called up for the senior national team for the first time during the week, and all of these goals were actually extremely worth seeing. Leverkusen signed Grimaldo on a free transfer from Benfica in the summer – but his left foot in particular is worth its weight in gold.
Bayer only in the Exploitation of opportunities expandable
While in the lead, Leverkusen continued in the same way. Union couldn’t find a way to stop the league leaders’ attack and was lucky that Rönnow prevented the early decision. The keeper first stopped Jeremie Frimpong in a one-on-one (26th), then Boniface headed the ball into his arms from five meters completely free (29th). And shortly before the break, Rönnow dived brilliantly against Wirtz (45th).
Leverkusen showed their class, but left too much behind in terms of efficiency. That’s why the only criticism that coach Xabi Alonso’s team had to accept was that they left Union in the game in the first half. The result of 0:1 was the best thing of the game so far for the guests.
Leverkusen’s defenders decide the game
Leverkusen immediately changed the weakness of the first half in the second half. In the opening phase, Alonso’s team had the ball almost all the time, but played much more cautiously and waited for their chance. And the first opportunity led directly to success, Kossounou headed a corner from Jonas Hofmann to make it 2-0 (57th).
Afterwards, Bayer visibly slowed down – also in the certainty that the Berliners posed little to no danger. Only Leverkusen had a chance and only Rönnow showed his class at Union. Against Frimpong the goalkeeper once again prevented a goal from being conceded (58th), and on the next occasion he was lucky that Wirtz could no longer react quickly enough to head the ball into the empty goal (71st).
But then Rönnow also had his blackout and ensured that the game was finally decided. He completely misjudged a corner and Tah accepted the invitation and pushed the ball into the goal to make it 3-0 (73′). After a fantastic counterattack, substitute Tella made it 4-0 (83′).
What is happening now at Union Berlin?
But it was already clear beforehand that Alonso would emulate his Spanish coaching colleague Guardiola and score 31 out of 33 possible points at the start of the season. About a year before the convincing Union victory, there was a kind of starting signal for this success story – Bayer, 16th in the Bundesliga, won 5-0 against the then league leaders Berlin. Now Leverkusen is showing its class game after game, be it with results football like in the Europa League against Qarabag Agdam (1-0) or with great dominance from the first to the last minute against Union.
The “Irons”, on the other hand, are likely to have an exciting international break ahead of them. Despite the misery, the club has so far left no doubts about coach Urs Fischer, who led Union from the 2nd division to the Champions League. It’s possible that a game with a team that’s in such outstanding shape won’t change anything – but such moments have often been used by clubs to try to bring about a turnaround with changes. And at least that is urgently needed at Union.
“I’m disappointed with the way this defeat happened”said Fischer at the Sportschau microphone: “We said we have to take small steps. We are in a relegation battle. Today we took two steps back again. The situation is special. It’s a marathon until the end.”
Union against Augsburg, Leverkusen in Bremen
1. FC Union Berlin will be challenged at home against Fuggerstädter next matchday (Saturday, November 25th, 2023 at 3:30 p.m.). Bayer Leverkusen meets Werder Bremen.
The post first appeared on www.sportschau.de