Leverkusen takes another step toward first Bundesliga title. It has 10-point lead with 9 games to go

BERLIN (AP) — Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen took another step toward the club’s first ever Bundesliga title with a 2-0 win over 10-man Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Goals from Nathan Tella and Florian Wirtz earned Leverkusen its 21st league win and stretched its German record unbeaten run to 36 games across all competitions this season. Leverkusen hasn’t lost since a defeat to Bochum on the final day last season.

Wirtz sealed the win in the 86th minute to keep Leverkusen 10 points clear of 11-time defending champion Bayern Munich with nine rounds remaining.

“I think the fans certainly wanted more goals. But whether we win 6-0 or 7-0, three points are three points,” Granit Xhaka said, alluding to Bayern’s 8-1 rout of Mainz the day before. “Yeah, you could argue about goal difference, but I hope it won’t be decided by goal difference in the end.”

Wirtz had gone close when he struck the left post in the 22nd, one of Leverkusen’s few chances as Wolfsburg defended in numbers.

But the visitors were dealt a blow six minutes later when Moritz Jenz was sent off with his second yellow card for a late challenge on Patrik Schick.

Álex Grimaldo used his heel to get past a defender and then sent a precise cross for Tella to head in the opener in the 37th.

It was Grimaldo's 13th assist across all competitions this season. The Spanish left back also has nine goals.

Leverkusen again dominated possession in the second half, albeit without creating clear chances against the visitors’ stubborn defense until Wirtz finally sealed it with a volley in off the left post from Exequiel Palacios’ cross.

“Perhaps it wasn't so spectacular today but we didn't want to allow any counterattacks. We wanted and needed to play with patience,” said Alonso, who took over as coach when Leverkusen was in the relegation zone in October 2022. “We've a clear idea and a clear plan. We'll continue on our path with consistency.”


Eintracht Frankfurt celebrated its 125th birthday with a 3-1 win over nine-man Hoffenheim as Mario Götze scored one goal and set up another.

Frankfurt’s fans marked the occasion with a huge tifo showing the club eagle, while the players wore special jerseys celebrating the club landmark.

The visitors had John Brooks sent off in the 22nd minute and Ozan Kabak followed with his second yellow card in the 78th.

Brooks’ sending off changed the game. The American defender headed Hoffenheim into a sixth-minute lead, then saw a red card for bringing down Omar Marmoush when the Egypt forward would have been through on goal.

Marmoush laid the ball back for Robin Koch to equalize in the 32nd, and Götze struck the post as Frankfurt pushed for more before the break.

The lead came shortly after it, when Götze crossed for Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe to head inside the top left corner in the 50th.

Götze sealed the win in the 64th and it got worse for Hoffenheim when Kabak saw his second yellow card for a foul on Frankfurt substitute Hugo Ekitiké.

Freiburg earlier held on to beat Bochum 2-1 away.


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