Bayer Leverkusen celebrated their second win in two games with dominance and ease and established themselves in the top flight of the Bundesliga at the start of the season. Led by double packer Victor Boniface, coach Xabi Alonso’s team easily won 3-0 (2-0) at Borussia Mönchengladbach and was never in danger. The victory could have been even clearer.
“Today everyone showed what good football we can play. It was a lot of fun,” said Bayer international Florian Wirtz on the “Sky” microphone.
The new striker Boniface (18′, 53′) and Jonathan Tah (45′ + 6′) scored for the guests after assisting former Gladbacher Jonas Hofmann. Gladbach, trained by former Leverkusen coach Gerardo Seoane, fought against the defeat, but ultimately had no chance.
Before the start of the game, Hofmann was said goodbye to the Gladbach club management. The international, who played for Borussia for seven and a half years before moving to Leverkusen, received a collage and was whistled at by the fans every time the ball was touched after kick-off.
But because Leverkusen quickly started their short passing game, Hofmann, like his team-mates, was mostly on the ball far too short for the whistles to have a major impact on him.
The guests’ game only became really goal-oriented after a good quarter of an hour – and another ex-Gladbach player was instrumental in the opening goal: Granit Xhaka crossed the ball to Alejandro Grimaldo, who hung up the ball directly for Boniface.
BAYER LETS THE BALL AND OPPONENTS RUN
Shortly thereafter, Xhaka (21st) celebrated the supposed 2-0 lead, but Tah was ruled offside when the goal was scored. Nevertheless, Leverkusen let the ball and opponents run, the combinations via Hofmann, Florian Wirtz, Boniface and Co. looked excellent – only the last determination and the move to the goal were sometimes missing.
📊 Die Zahlen zum Spiel. Von den 24 Torschüssen gab Victor 11 ab. Seit Datenerfassung (04/05) ist das Rekord für einen #Werkself-Spieler. 💪
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04fussball) August 26, 2023
So Gladbach stayed in the game despite being clearly inferior – and had the unexpected chance to equalize just before the break. Newcomer Tomas Cvancara (41st) didn’t hit the ball properly during a counterattack, which took revenge a little later: Tah refined a discard by Hofmann into his second goal of the season.
BONIFACE FINISHES COLD
In the second half, Leverkusen still had everything under control, even if Gladbach had a dangerous first shot through defender Marvin Friedrich (50th). But when Bayer picked up the pace, Gladbach just ran behind – like the third goal. Wirtz pranced through midfield, served Boniface, and the striker stayed free in front of Jonas Omlin.
Shortly afterwards, the Swiss goalkeeper prevented the 0:4 when he blocked Hofmann’s shot (56th). With the clear lead behind them, Leverkusen took their foot off the accelerator and gave Gladbach more space.
Ko Itakura (68′) almost took advantage of this, but Lukas Hradecky saved the Japanese’s header. On the other side, however, Leverkusen also had other great chances, for example through Adam Hlozek (84th).