Head coach Xabi Alonso made eight changes from the team that started the 2-0 UEFA Europa League win away at Häcken on Thursday, reverting back to his usual starting XI. Boniface and defenders Jonathan Tah and Edmond Tapsoba were the only players to retain their places.
Dortmund made the perfect start in Leverkusen by striking with the first attack as Niclas Füllkrug, holding off Tapsoba with his back to goal, played in Ryerson, who finished past Lukas Hradecky. It was Bayer 04 who then dictated play, which took place mostly in the BVB half. Alonso’s men frequently found gaps in the defence but were unable to get away a telling effort. The best chance came for Granit Xhaka with a half volley from the right of centre on the edge of the box after a miscued clearance, but his attempt flew just wide of the near post. The original delivery had come from Jeremie Frimpong, who often found space up against Jamie Bynoe-Gittens on the Borussia left. The Dutchman would put the ball into the box again shortly after but without any takers.
That changed in added time when a long ball found Boniface, who played in Jonas Hofmann. He slipped in Frimpong racing up the right, with the cross this time finding Florian Wirtz at the far post. The Werkself No.10 took a touch and then curled the ball into the far top corner off the underside of the bar. However, the goal was chalked off on review for offside against Boniface. It meant Leverkusen went into the break a goal down.
Play continued in a similar pattern after the restart, with the hosts pushing and Edin Terzic’s visitors focusing on defending. Bayer 04 increased the pressure on Gregor Kobel’s goal, first with Hofmann in the 57th minute and then Wirtz again, but the BVB goalkeeper repelled both attempts. Another double effort followed shortly after when Exequiel Palacios tried to burst through the back line and then Wirtz had a crack with the rebound, only for Kobel to palm away. There was no letting up. Emre Can lost the ball in his own area, with Wirtz teeing up Xhaka, but the Switzerland international fired over from 20 yards.
The equaliser had been coming and finally arrived with 11 minutes remaining. Less than 60 seconds after his introduction, Patrik Schick popped up in the box and squared the ball for his strike partner Boniface to tap into an empty net and finally make it 1-1. That was how it remained as the Werkself extended their unbeaten run this season to 20 games in all competitions and their advantage at the top of the Bundesliga to three points, although Bayern Munich have a game in hand.
The fixtures continue to come thick and fast, with the next game again at the BayArena on Wednesday as Paderborn arrive in town for the DFB-Pokal last 16 (18:00 CET). Then Alonso’s men go to high-flying VfB Stuttgart for Matchday 14 in the Bundesliga on Sunday (15:30).
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong, Palacios (Schick 79'), Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Adli 64'), Wirtz - Boniface
Borussia Dortmund: Kobel – Wolf, Hummels, Schlotterbeck (Papadopoulos 64'), Ryerson - Can, Sabitzer - Reus (Meunier 84'), Brandt, Bynoe-Gittens (Adeyemi 64') - Füllkrug
Goals: 0-1 Ryerson (5'), 1-1 Boniface (79')
Yellow cards: Frimpong, Palacios, Kossounou - Hummels, Wolf
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
Attendance: 30,210 (sold out) at the BayArena
Bayer 04 continue to show no weakness: The top team in the Bundesliga are leading the way after the 2-1 win away to FC Heidenheim as they expand their outstanding run to 32 games unbeaten in all competitions. After the brilliant display in the 3-0 win against Bayern Munich, hard work was needed to earn a deserved victory at Heidenheim. The Werkself review.Show more
Bayer 04 extended their unbeaten run this season to a German record-equalling 32 competitive matches with a 2-1 win away at Heidenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Jeremie Frimpong put Leverkusen ahead in first-half added time before Amine Adli put away a Florian Wirtz pass to double the advantage. Tim Kleindienst got one back for the hosts, but the Werkself held on to keep clear at the top of the table.Show more
Bayer 04 visit promoted Heidenheim for Bundesliga Matchday 22 on Saturday, 17 February (kick-off: 15:30 CET). Here’s all you need to know ahead of the game at the Voith-Arena in our matchday news.Show more
Just one point separates the two teams and Sunday 18 February (kick-off: 14.00 CEST) brings a head-to-head clash: the Bayer 04 Women are at home to TSG Hoffenheim at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium on Matchday 14. For Leverkusen it is all about building on the current run of six games unbeaten at home.Show more