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30.09.2023Bundesliga

3-0 at Mainz – Werkself clock up record Bundesliga start

The Werkself secured a fifth league win with outstanding travelling support. Bayer 04 now have 16 points from six games after the 3-0 victory away to Mainz 05 and that is the best Bundesliga start in the club's history. The Leverkusen goals were scored by Sepp van den Berg with an own goal plus Alejandro Grimaldo and Jonas Hofmann.
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Head coach Xabi Alonso kept faith with the same starting line-up as in the 4-1 home win against Heidenheim. With the support of a sold-out away section, the Werkself looked to gain control of possession from the start but Mainz were initially more often in and around the opposition box. The first effort from the visitors came from Alejandro Grimaldo on ten minutes but the Spaniard hit his free kick just over the target.

wekself lead through own goal

The first goal of the game came from the Mainz player Sepp van den Berg when the defender turned the ball into his own net from a whipped-in cross from Jeremie Frimpong – giving the Werkself the lead (18'). The hosts, starting the matchday next to bottom in the table, adopted a physical and intensive approach to the game to counter the Leverkusen passing play. They were unable to beat the in form Lukas Hradecky in the Werkself goal so that Bayer 04 went into the break 1-0 up and with almost two thirds of possession.

Die Werkself bejubelt das 1:0

Grimaldo from free kick - Hofmann seals win

Werkself keeper Hradecky was centre stage for the first goalmouth action in the second half when he pulled off a brilliant reflex save to turn a Karim Onisiwo header over the bar (54’). The second goal of the game came at the other end: Grimaldo hit a free kick from the left of the box over the wall into the left corner of the net to score his second goal of the season (59') following on from his first free kick strike in Munich. Jonas Hofmann increased the lead to 3-0 six minutes later with a volley – and his celebration in front of the away end put the travelling Werkself support in a party mood.

Victor Boniface missed a chance to make it four for Leverkusen with 15 minutes to play when the Nigerian was denied by the Mainz keeper Robin Zentner. Bayer 04 eased off somewhat and the numerous changes on both sides saw a quiet end to the game. The Werkself maintained the three-goal advantage and are now temporarily at least top of the Bundesliga table.

 

Alejandro Grimaldo

outlook: Molde away and home Derby

Bayer 04 will set off to Norway on Wednesday for the second group match in the UEFA Europa League at Molde kicking off at 21.00 CEST on Thursday. The double fixture week ends with a home derby against FC Köln on Sunday at 15.30 CEST.

Match stats:

Mainz 05: Zentner - van den Berg, Bell, Fernandes - da Costa (El Ghazi 69’), Barreiro, Kohr (Krauß 69’), Caci - Gruda (Ajorque 76’), Lee (Barkok 69’) - Onisiwo (Richter 84’)

Bayer 04: Hradecky – Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Stanisic 86’), Palacios, Xhaka (Andrich 79’), Grimaldo - Hofmann (Amiri 86’), Wirtz (Adli 63’) - Boniface (Hlozek 79’)

Goals: 0-1 van den Berg (o.g. 18’), 0-2 Grimaldo (59’), 0-3 Hofmann (65’)

Booked: Fernandes, Gruda, Richter, Barreiro - Xhaka

Referee: Benjamin Brand (Unterspiesheim)

Attendance: 33,305 (sold out) at the Mewa Arena

 

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