Leverkusen pull clear of Bayern with Stuttgart draw

Leverkusen pull clear of Bayern with Stuttgart draw

© AFP 2022
December 10, 2023 at 4:35 PM
Race to the top: Bayer Leverkusen pulled clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-1 draw at Stuttgart on Sunday
Race to the top: Bayer Leverkusen pulled clear at the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-1 draw at Stuttgart on Sunday. Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP
Source: AFP

Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday with a 1-1 draw at fellow high-fliers Stuttgart.

Leverkusen playmaker Florian Wirtz scored a second-half equaliser as the visitors came from behind to steal a point from in-form Stuttgart and strengthen their grip on top spot.

Alonso's side are now four points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the table, after the champions suffered a shock 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

They remain the only club in the league who are still unbeaten this season, having won 11 of their first 14 games.

Bayern's defeat had only increased the excitement around this top-of-the-table clash, and the game lived up to its billing in an enthralling first half.

Stuttgart pinned Leverkusen back for much of the opening exchanges, forcing a string of superb saves from Lukas Hradecky and a desperate goal-line block from Edmond Tapsoba.

Hradecky in particular was imperious, first denying Deniz Undav with a superb dive to his left and then sticking out a leg to stop Serhou Guirassy in a one-on-one.

Leverkusen remained dangerous on the break, with Amine Adli hitting the woodwork and Victor Boniface skewing a shot wide.

But Stuttgart deserved their lead when they finally broke through just before half-time.

Josha Vagnoman unpicked the Leverkusen defence with a darting run into the box from the right, before squaring the ball to an unmarked Chris Fuehrich for a tap-in.

Alonso's side struck back immediately after the break, Wirtz finding the net with a brilliant first-time finish after Boniface had outmuscled Dan-Axel Zagadou on the left wing.

The equaliser turned the game on its head, and it was Leverkusen who had the better chances in the second half.

Granit Xhaka hit the post with a long-range effort, while Jonathan Tah almost snatched victory with a sweetly-timed half-volley late on.

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© AFP 2022 photo
© AFP 2022