Leverkusen beat Freiburg to edge closer to maiden league title

March 18, 2024 5:45 am

[ Source : Reuters ]

Bayer Leverkusen beat hosts Freiburg 3-2 on Sunday to stay 10 points clear at the top of the league standings and edge closer to a first ever Bundesliga title.

Fresh from qualifying for the Europa League quarter-final in mid-week, Leverkusen showed no signs of fatigue as they earned a club record 22nd win in a Bundesliga season.

Xabi Alonso’s team, who also set a club record with their sixth straight away win, are on 70 points, 10 ahead of second-placed Bayern Munich with eight league matches left to play.

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VfB Stuttgart are third on 56, with Borussia Dortmund in fourth on 50 following their 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

“It is always difficult to play against Freiburg,” said Leverkusen coach Alonso. “Their second goal injected some more emotions late in the game. We could not score a fourth but it was a deserved win with a good performance.”

His team face West Ham in the Europa League quarter-finals next month and is also through to the German Cup last four where they host Fortuna Dusseldorf on April 3.

“That is my main concern, that the players come all back healthy (from the international break) with no problems from their national teams.”

“We have a brutal April coming up and we will go for it,” Alonso said.

Florian Wirtz put the visitors, who are unbeaten across all competitions this season, in front after two minutes with a scintillating solo run before Ritsu Doan’s clever shot in the 10th drew Freiburg level.

Leverkusen went back into a deserved lead in the 40th when Adam Hlozek tapped in from close range after Freiburg keeper Noah Atubolu had spilled the ball into his path following superb early work from Wirtz.

Patrik Schick’s stunning flick, with the ball going in off the post in the 53rd, gave them a two-goal cushion and should have killed off the game.

Instead, they eased off, allowing Freiburg more space, and Yannik Keitel cut the deficit after some sloppy defending in the 79th to inject some late drama.

Germany international Wirtz hit the post a little later before Freiburg responded with a golden chance of their own in stoppage time but Kiliann Sildillia’s close-range header flew over the bar and Leverkusen hung on for the win.