Bayer Leverkusen took the next step towards a place in the European Cup when Florian Wirtz returned to the starting XI. Coach Xabi Alonso’s team defeated VfL Bochum 2-0 (1-0) and celebrated their fifth win in a row. As a result, the Werkself climb past Borussia Mönchengladbach to eighth place.
Edmond Tapsoba (8th) gave Leverkusen the lead with a penalty kick after video evidence. Adam Hlozek (53rd) followed up after some good preliminary work from Wirtz. For Bochum, which slipped to relegation place 16, a winning streak of three games ended.
After tearing his cruciate ligament on Wednesday evening, Wirtz started a competitive game for Leverkusen for the first time in 318 days. The 19-year-old was last brought on in the 74th minute in Mönchengladbach on Sunday.
“We need him,” said Bayer coach Xabi Alonso after the game. Captain and goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky agreed with his coach: “He’s a winter signing and brings us to another dimension.”
Bochum came into play better in the early minutes in front of 27,820 spectators in the BayArena. Philipp Hofmann fired the first shot next to the goal after ten seconds. Moussa Diaby, who got caught on Keven Schlotterbeck’s foot after a solo in the penalty area and fell to the ground, had the first scene for Leverkusen (5′).
Leverkusen ended a streak of bad luck from the point
Referee Timo Gerach’s whistle was initially silent, Adam Hlozek’s shot from the margin failed because of Bochum’s keeper Manuel Riemann. At first the game went on. Then Gerach looked at the scene again and decided on a penalty kick.
Tapsoba sank ice cold and ended Leverkusen’s bad luck with penalties: Most recently, the Rhinelanders had awarded six penalties in a row in all competitions.
Takuma Asano missed the direct answer on the other end, Piero Hincapie saved on the line. Bayer came into play a little better as a result. A goal by Diaby was disallowed due to a clear offside position.
Adam Hlozek scores 500th goal of the Bundesliga season
Comebacker Wirtz also showed up after 20 minutes with a harmless shot from a distance. After that, the game initially slacked off at temperatures around the freezing point.
After the break, Riemann had to parry Wirtz in the follow-up (47′). A few minutes later, the international prepared the goal of the incoming Hlozek with a nice, tight pass – it was the 500th goal of the first half of the Bundesliga season. Wirtz’ comeback ended with standing ovations and chants in the 72nd minute.
Bayer Leverkusen – VfL Bochum: The voices
Xabi Alonso (Bayer Leverkusen manager): “Obviously we’re happy with the result and the performance. The first goal was important to get the advantage. After that we didn’t get many chances.”
Thomas Letsch (coach VfL Bochum): “Unfortunately, we conceded that goal relatively early on. In the first half we were even, but unfortunately we didn’t reward ourselves. The 0-2 came at a thankless moment. On the one hand, we’re going home sad because we could have done better . But also absolutely proud because I’m convinced that every time we play like that away we get our points and achieve our goals.”
Bayer Leverkusen – VfL Bochum: The data for the game