The match was a physical encounter for both teams from the start although there was also a lot of tempo and desire to get forwards. The team under head coach Xabi Alonso created good chance in the opening minutes and, with five minutes on the clock, Moussa Diaby cut in from the wing and he could only be stopped in the penalty area by a foul. After consulting the video screen, referee Timo Gerach pointed to the spot in his first Bundesliga match in charge. Edmond Tapsoba converted the spot-kick to make it 1-0 (8') with his first penalty for the Black and Reds.
Bochum, not downhearted by the goal conceded, had a big chance a minute after the opening goal. However, Takuma Asano was first denied by an impressive save from Lukas Hradecky and then with a goal-line clearance from Piero Hincapie. An effort at the other end by Diaby was ruled out with the Frenchman being offside in the build-up (13'). The 1-0 lead from the first half was extended with a goal from Adam Hlozek set up by Florian Wirtz on 53 minutes. Bochum were unable to get on the scoresheet so the Werkself were able to celebrate a fifth league win in succession with the fans.
Edmond Tapsoba, scoring the opening goal, said after the final whistle: "I'm happy about the penalty and our win. The decision for me to take it came from the coach. When you step up you have to be confident but there's always a little bit of luck involved too." His coach, Xabi Alonso, was "happy with the result and performance. We were prepared to take on an intense game and all the players battled."
Talking about the return of playmaker Florian Wirtz to the starting line-up at home at the BayArena, the Spaniard said: "It was important to have Florian back on the pitch and for him it was important to play in front of his own fans again. The team helps him and he helps the team, that's the right way."
The last start for Florian Wirtz was 318 days ago – fully recovered from his torn cruciate in March 2022 – he finally made his return to the starting eleven in the home game against Bochum. The 19-year-old received a vocal reception from the fans at the BayArena – and was celebrated in song. His highlight of the evening: the assist for Adam Hlozek to make it to 2-0.
Also good news from a Black and Red perspective: The goal drought from the penalty spot finally ended against Bochum. After six misses across all competitions, Leverkusen finally converted a penalty, this time through Edmond Tapsoba with his first spot-kick. VfL gave away an eleventh penalty of the season – a Bundesliga Hinrunde record.
The Werkself had eleven shots on goal, one more than the visitors. The hosts also had the upper hand in possession with 56%. The same applied to a pass completion rate of 77% with the Letsch team on 69%. It was different with challenges as Bochum were just ahead with 53%. Also of interest for stats lovers: Robert Andrich made his 100th Bundesliga appearance in the game against VfL. Adam Hlozek scored goal number 500 in the current Bundesliga campaign with his strike on 53 minutes. That happened on matchday 17 in the 1985/86 season.
The Express summed up the game as follows: "Two wins in four days, five in succession! Bayer took the next step towards a European spot with the first start for Florian Wirtz in the 2-0 victory over VfL Bochum.” The Kölner Stadt Anzeiger headline reads: "Bayer extend run" and they also had words of praise for Tapsoba's converted penalty: "Accurate. Unstoppable." The Rheinische Post agrees and they described the goal from the defender as follows: "Converted the penalty at 1-0 with remarkable focus. The shot from the defender hit the back of the net with power and accuracy.” The Bild Zeitung described the shot with the words "Tapsoba ends penalty curse" as the Werkself had missed six penalties in succession before last night's game.
Following the wins at Borussia Mönchengladbach (3-2) and at home to VfL Bochum (2-0), the Werkself play a rival from North Rhine Westphalia in the next match: Borussia Dortmund visit the BayArena on Sunday 29 January (kick-off: 17.30 CET).
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The final international break of 2023 is over and now Bayer 04 start a busy run of fixtures up to the winter break. The first of eight games across all competitions before Christmas is today’s away fixture at Werder Bremen (kick-off: 15.30 CET). The latest updates on the game at the Weserstadion.Show more