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Leverkusen Defeat Freiburg, Extend Unbeaten Run To 38 Matches

Leverkusen's seventh league win on the bounce kept them 10 points clear of serial champions Bayern Munich with eight games to play in their quest for the club's first ever Bundesliga crown.


Bayer Leverkusen’s German midfielder #10 Florian Wirtz celebrates with teammates scoring the opening goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match SC Freiburg v Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Freiburg, southwestern Germany on March 17, 2024. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)

 

Florian Wirtz scored after 84 seconds as Bayer Leverkusen made it 38 games unbeaten in all competitions with a 3-2 victory in Freiburg on Sunday.

Leverkusen’s seventh league win on the bounce kept them 10 points clear of serial champions Bayern Munich with eight games to play in their quest for the club’s first ever Bundesliga crown.

“It was a good performance, a deserved victory. It’s not easy to win in Freiburg but we keep going,” Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso told DAZN before praising the performance of his playmaker Wirtz.

“It’s not just the goal he scored, he has a super game. He has real quality and I am very happy for his development.”

Wirtz, one of Leverkusen’s key performers this season, got things moving in style. The Germany forward cut in from the left and unleashed a perfect shot with his right foot, chalking up his seventh league goal of the campaign.

The early goal stunned Freiburg, who came into the game fresh from a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of West Ham in the Europa League, with Leverkusen to face the Londoners in the quarter-final of the competition next month.

Freiburg responded against the run of play though, with Japan forward Ritsu Doan exchanging passes neatly with Lucas Hoeler to drill a low shot beyond the unsighted Lukas Hradecky.

Leverkusen put their noses back in front before half-time though, with Adam Hlozek tapping into an empty net after a mistake by Freiburg goalkeeper Noah Atubolu.

Patrik Schick put the gloss on another convincing victory for Alonso’s team, with a sensational finish to a scintillating Leverkusen counter-attack.

Jeremie Frimpong’s cross from the right was caressed into the top corner by the Czech striker, who was the Leverkusen hero on Thursday with two stoppage-time goals against Qarabag in Europe.

Yannik Keitel pulled one back for Freiburg but the damage was already done, leaving the hosts in ninth and with European qualification slipping away.

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In the final game of the weekend, Borussia Dortmund left it late against Eintracht Frankfurt but eventually secured a 3-1 win to stay a point ahead of RB Leipzig in the race for fourth spot.

Dortmund, who beat PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League last week to set up a quarter-final showdown against Atletico Madrid, fell behind to a breakaway Frankfurt goal by former hero Mario Goetze in front of the Yellow Wall.

But the hosts struck back through Karim Adeyemi before the break.

Mats Hummels’ diving header from Julian Brandt’s free-kick put Dortmund ahead for the first time in the 81st minute, with Emre Can’s stoppage-time penalty adding the gloss.

“We’ve now won our last four games and go into the international break with a much better feeling than we had two weeks ago,” Hummels said.

“We’re all very satisfied to be in the quarter-finals of the Champions League but, in the Bundesliga, of course we’re lagging behind.”

AFP