Bayer Leverkusen defeat Wolfsburg to edge closer to first Bundesliga title

 
Nathan Tella of Bayer Leverkusen celebrates with team mates during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfL Wolfsburg at BayArena on March 10, 2024 in Leverkusen, Germany. 



Nathan Tella and Florian Wirtz scored as Bayer Leverkusen beat 10-man Wolfsburg 2-0 on Sunday to edge their team closer to a maiden Bundesliga title. Bayern Munich's 8-1 win over Mainz on Saturday, including Harry Kane's fourth hat-trick of the season, had cut the gap to seven points. 


Now, with nine games remaining, Leverkusen, who are still unbeaten in all competitions this season, sit 10 points ahead. 


"It wasn't easy, but it was highly deserved," said Leverkusen's Granit Xhaka. "I'm sure the fans would have wished for more goals, but three points are three points."

Leverkusen were handed an advantage when Wolfsburg's Moritz Jenz picked up a second yellow card after 28 minutes.

It was the third league match in a row where Leverkusen's opponents finished with 10 men, showing the impact of the relentless pressure of coach Xabi Alonso's high-energy football.

"We could have maybe taken more risks, but we didn't want that. We wanted to be patient and we wanted to wait," Alonso told DAZN.

Leverkusen took to the field just two days after returning from Azerbaijan, where they fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Qarabag in the Europa League last 16.


Alonso made eight changes to keep his side fresh while impressive wing-back Jeremie Frimpong was forced to watch from the stands due to suspension.

The hosts opened the scoring 11 minutes after Jenz's red card when Tella leapt high to head in a delightful Alex Grimaldo chip, the Spaniard's 11th assist of the campaign.


Wirtz, who kick-started the resurgence in Thursday's match in Baku with a beautiful chipped goal, added the second on Sunday with four minutes remaining.

Gregoritsch scores again

Goals from Michael Gregoritsch and Maximilian Eggestein took Freiburg to a 2-1 win at Bochum ahead of next week's Europa League second leg at West Ham.

Fresh from scoring the only goal to give Freiburg a 1-0 advantage in their last-16 tie on Thursday, Gregoritsch's strike again proved crucial.

Eggestein gave the visitors the lead with a 36th-minute goal, blasting in a looping Gregoritsch header.

Gregoritsch headed an inch-perfect Ritsu Doan pass to double the visitors' lead early in the second half.

Ivan Ordets' header halved the deficit with just under half an hour remaining but it was not enough for the home side.

"We were hanging on at the end. I'm glad we got over the line," Gregoritsch told DAZN.

Bochum have now lost two in a row at home since beating Bayern Munich 3-2 in mid-February.

Freiburg, who sit eighth after the win, can qualify for the quarter-finals of the Europa League for the first time by avoiding defeat at West Ham.

Eintracht Frankfurt beat nine-man Hoffenheim 3-1 at home, extending the gap between the two clubs to seven points and tightening the hosts' grip on sixth place, the final guaranteed European spot.

Hoffenheim's United States defender John Brooks went from star to villain, opening the scoring after six minutes but seeing red 16 minutes later for a last-man tackle on Omar Marmoush.

Frankfurt made their advantage count, scoring three unanswered goals through Robin Koch, Eric Dina Ebimbe and Mario Goetze.

Hoffenheim lost former Liverpool defender Ozan Kabak to a second yellow card with 12 minutes remaining.

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