EletiofeFreiburg 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Bundesliga – as it happened

Freiburg 0-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Bundesliga – as it happened

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That’s it from me. Thanks for reading along; 99% of that match won’t live long in the memory, but that Kai Havertz winner will. I’ll leave you with a roundup of a busy day in Germany. Auf wiedersehen!

Full time! Freiburg 0-1 Leverkusen

Tapsoba makes an important interception to deny Freiburg’s final push forward, and the visitors get the win!

Freiburg’s manager Christian Streich has a word with the referee after the final whistle.

Freiburg’s manager Christian Streich has a word with the referee after the final whistle. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA

Updated

93 mins: One more minute. Leverkusen are digging in here, which might please their manager as much as a swaggering 3-0 victory.

92 mins: Dragovic deals with a long ball, with the follow-up cleared by Amiri. It’s a corner, a decision Amiri protests at length. He earns a yellow card, but the corner comes to nothing.

90 mins: Four added minutes.

Freiburg’s Luca Waldschmidt (fleft) in action against Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby.

Freiburg’s Luca Waldschmidt (fleft) in action against Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA

Updated

89 mins: Into the last minute of normal time, and Freiburg have another promising free kick. Gunter swings it in, but the impressive Tah rises to nod it away.

87 mins: Oof, it’s not over yet – the Leverkusen defence is unpicked by a long ball, and Gunter squares to Pedersen in space. It’s slightly behind him, and Hradecky is able to turn his shot away. Gunter looked to be offside, anyway.

86 mins: This all feels a little pre-season now, especially after all the changes. Not an original thought, I know.

83 mins: Schmid lines it up, but it’s awkward for a right-footed player, and his effort pings away off the wall. Leverkusen make changes: Paulinho replaces Wirtz, and defender Edmond Tapsoba is on for Bailey.

81 mins: Bosz has called Bailey back into midfield to cover for Sinkgraven, but he clumsily shoves his opponent over after battling for a high ball. Free kick in a dangerous position for Freiburg

79 mins: Lucas Alario goes in the book after going in heavily on Lienhart. For the hosts, Kwon Chang-hoon replaces Grifo.

Updated

75 mins: Waldschmidt impressed at the U21 Euros last year, and has attracted interest from Chelsea and RB Leipzig. Can he get the hosts back in the game? They look out of ideas here.

72 mins: There’s a break in play as Robin Koch receives treatment; he eventually has to be replaced by Mike Frantz. Holer also gets the hook, replaced by Luca Waldschmidt.

70 mins: Leverkusen enjoy a spell of possession as the clock keeps moving. Are we set for another away win?

Freiburg’s Manuel Gulde (right) tussles with Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz.

Freiburg’s Manuel Gulde (right) tussles with Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA

Updated

67 mins: Schmid makes an immediate impact, firing a low effort just wide of goal with Hradecky struggling to get across to it.

64 mins: Havertz is replaced by winger Moussa Diaby. For Freiburg, Gulde and Schmid replace Kubler and Sallai down the right-hand side.

NO GOAL! Amiri whips in a lovely free-kick from deep, and Baumgartlinger climbs highest to head in – but the whistle had already gone, on account of all the push ‘n shove in the area. No complaints from Leverkusen players, but it looked a little soft.

60 mins: Lucas Alario comes on for Leverkusen, replacing Sinkgraven. A centre-forward for a left-sided player, so presumably there will be some sort of tactical shuffle.

58 mins: This game needed that, and Leverkusen already look more relaxed. Wirtz gets involved, curling a shot just wide of the far post.

The joy of football: that an utterly mediocre game can suddenly produce a moment like that. Havertz played it forward to Bailey, who drew his man in and then backheeled the ball into space . From a tight angle, and with the keeper barrelling towards him, Havertz paused, then prodded the ball beyond Schwolow and into the net!

Kai Havertz puts Bayer Leverkusen ahead.

Kai Havertz puts Bayer Leverkusen ahead. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/Getty Images

Updated

GOAL! Freiburg 0-1 Leverkusen (Havertz 54′)

Kai Havertz puts the visitors ahead with a lovely goal!

52 mins: But the second delivery is flicked on by Baumgartlinger to Aranguiz, who stoops to head the ball in but can’t get his effort on target!

51 mins: Sallai heads over, before Leverkusen break away and force a corner. The first is cleared at the near post …

48 mins: Freiburg start on the front foot, with Grifo almost playing Holer in behind. He timed his run well, but strike partner Pedersen was offside.

Peep!

And we’re back. Strange first half: Leverkusen dominated, but are lucky not to be behind.

Half-time reading

In a parallel universe, Slavisa Jokanovic was part of the Yugoslavia team that won Euro 92. He talks to Sid Lowe about what might have been:

Half time: Freiburg 0-0 Leverkusen

That was a bit like every cake I’ve ever tried to make. It has all the ingredients to be excellent but in truth, it’s been a bit of a mess.

WHAT A MISS! Freiburg have barely threatened, but they should have scored here. Leverkusen’s high line is exposed by Sallai’s through ball, and Lucas Holer is clean through on goal. But with only the keeper to beat, he sidefoots his effort wide!

Freiburg’s Lucas Holer reacts.

Freiburg’s Lucas Holer reacts. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA

Updated

40 mins: Bailey then tries to recover the loose ball with a crunching tackle, for which he’s lucky not to be booked.

39 mins: The visitors carve out their best chance, Bailey again involved, making a pocket of space with a neat turn but seeing his low cross to Havertz cut out.

37 mins: Bailey tries to swing another cross in, but it’s wildly overhit. Havertz is playing through the middle, with teenager Florian Wirtz struggling to make much of an impact on the right flank.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz (right) comes out second best in this challenge with Freiburg’s Dominique Heintz

Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz (right) comes out second best in this challenge with Freiburg’s Dominique Heintz Photograph: Ronald Wittek/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

35 mins: Aranguiz launches another quick counter, from which Bailey tries to find Havertz with a low cross that’s turned safely behind.

34 mins: Havertz can’t get much social distance in the Freiburg area, and is penalised for using his hand to bring the ball down.

33 mins: Interesting bit of information from Paul Dempsey just then. Leverkusen’s German Cup semi-final opponents, Saarbrucken, have had their season cancelled, so they’ve gone back into training for a single game.

31 mins: It’s not really clicking for this rejigged Leverkusen side so far, even if they’ve bossed possession in a downtempo half-hour.

Medical staff sit in the stands.

Medical staff sit in the stands. Photograph: Reuters

Updated

28 mins: Freiburg venture forward and immediately regret it as Leverkusen pinch the ball and race away on the counter. Leon Bailey has Lienhart on his heels but tries to take an extra touch, and the hosts scramble it away.

“If any English readers need motivation to pick a side, this might help” says Peter Oh.

25 mins: Leverkusen corner, which Amiri swings in and Sven Bender heads wide – so wide, in fact, that Tah keeps it in and earns a throw-in.

It’s just occurred to me that this was my most recent MBM. The fact it happened less than three months ago is mind-melting:

20 mins: Leverkusen are pinging the ball around effectively in the Freiburg half, but can’t unlock the defence. Charles Aranguiz gets impatient and slices an ambitious shot over the bar.

17 mins: Jonathan Tah, getting a chance in defence tonight after Leverkusen’s collapse against Wolfsburg, muscles Holer off the ball.

15 mins: Havertz earns another corner, which Freiburg’s centre-backs deal with comfortably.

13 mins: Safer hands from Hradecky, who collects a cross under pressure. Freiburg’s game plan seems pretty direct, a sort of Black Forest Burnley.

10 mins: Wing-back Daley Sinkgraven motors forward, the ball eventually worked to Kai Havertz, who makes his first cameo, wriggling into space in the area and seeing his shot deflected behind.

7 mins: Vincenzo Grifo, Freiburg’s creative spark out wide, sees his snap-shot deflected behind. Two corners follow, neither of which are dealt with particularly well by Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky.

5 mins: Leverkusen work it around the edge of the Freiburg area, before Baumgartlinger’s lofted diagonal ball fails to find anyone in the area.

2 mins: Freiburg are in their traditional red-and-black stripes, Leverkusen in a shimmering silver away number. Lucas Holer bustles forward for the hosts but is kept from causing any trouble.

Peep!

Away we go. The lack of atmosphere, as ever, remains a bit weird. But what can you do, eh?

A general view during the Bundesliga match between Sport-Club Freiburg and Bayer Leverkusen.

The sunsets behind Schwarzwald-Stadium. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/Getty Images

Updated

Germany’s top tier in the women’s game, the Frauen Bundesliga, kicked off today. League leaders Wolfsburg didn’t miss a beat, sticking four goals past Cologne in the first game back.

Pernille Harder celebrates her opening penalty.

Pernille Harder celebrates her opening penalty. Photograph: Swen Pf’rtner/AP

For more on why Germany got their act together but England didn’t (I know, I know), here’s Suzanne Wrack:

The teams

Freiburg (4-4-2): Schwolow; Kubler, Lienhart, Heintz, Gunter; Sallai, Koch, Hofler, Grifo; Holer, Petersen.

Subs: Flekken, Abrashi, Frantz, Gulde, Chang, Schlotterbeck, Schmid, Tempelmann, Waldschmidt.

Leverkusen (3-4-3): Hradecky; Tah, S Bender, Dragovic; Amiri, Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz, Sinkgraven; Wirtz, Havertz, Bailey.

Subs: Ozcan, Alario, Bellarabi, Demirbay, Diaby, Palacios, Paulinho, Tapsoba, Volland.

Preamble

I’ve just finished watching Devs, a sci-fi series on iPlayer that lives up to its existential themes by being both very good and very bad at the same time. Tonight, I’ll be watching Bayer Leverkusen, the football equivalent of Devs.

Leverkusen returned from lockdown looking sharp, rising star Kai Havertz at the fore as they won at Bremen and Gladbach by an aggregate score of 7-2. The top four looked a formality; even a late surge for the title looked possible. Then in midweek, they lost 4-1 at home to Wolfsburg.

Under Peter Bosz, Leverkusen often look unplayable, and occasionally appear unmanageable. The coach can’t afford to bring the latter version to Freiburg, routine overachievers looking to improve their own mixed fortunes since the restart.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm BST, 8.30pm local, no matter which strand of the multiverse you call home.

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