Bayer Leverkusen attempted to snatch back victory in a match against Freiburg, after a previous 4-1 defeat at home to Wolfsburg. Their 12-game winning streak of 12 games saw a hitch in the midweek match, but they managed to win again in this match.
Indeed, it was Leverkusen who started the first half brightest. In the opening 20 minutes, the home side had as much as 70 per cent of the ball.
They were however unable to break through a compact Freiburg side set up by Streich who defended first, and attacked second. Leverkusen’s attempts were countered by the well-structured shape of the Freiburg team, keeping the game in the middle of the pitch, much to the frustration of Peter Bosz.
Still, chances to score arose towards the end of the first period. Leon Bailey flirted for either side with the first shot on target of the game.
Lucas Höler also had the perfect opportunity to open the scoring on the other end. In a one-on-one with Lukas Hradecky, Höler went to the far bottom corner but curled his strike wide, leaving the game goalless at break time.
Leverkusen continued to dominate the ball into the second half and made the breakthrough with their first shot on target just after the hour-mark.
Kai Havertz flicked the ball to Bailey before continuing his run into the box where the Jamaican found him and finished under Alexander Schwolow, while holding off Dominique Heintz’s challenge.
For Florian Wirtz, it was almost a first Leverkusen goal just minutes later, but the 17-year-old’s goal-to-goal strike went wide across the net.
In the final minutes, Nils Petersen had one of several chances of equalling, but Hradecky made a great save to deny him.
On the 66th minute, though, there were worried faces across the Leverkusen bench as Havertz pulled up with injury, and had to be replaced.
The 20-year-old still became the first player in the history of the Bundesliga to score 35 goals before turning 21, and beat Freiburg to it.
The away side held on and took all three points in the table above RB Leipzig to move provisionally third.
Goals: 0-1 Havertz (61′)
Freiburg: Schwolow – Kübler (Gulde 66′), Lienhart, Heintz, Günter (c) – Sallai (Schmid 66′), Koch (Frantz 75′), Höfler, Grifo (Kwon 75′) – Höler (Waldschmidt 75′), Petersen
Unused subs: Flekken, Schlotterbeck, Abrashi, Tempelmann
Out: Haberer (ankle), Ravet (muscular)
Coach: Christian Streich
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Tah, S. Bender, Dragovic – Amiri, Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger, Sinkgraven (Alario 62′) – Wirtz (Paulinho 85′), Havertz (c) (Diaby 66′), Bailey (Tapsoba 85′)
Unused subs: Özcan, Demirbay, Palacios, Bellarabi, Volland
Out: L. Bender (foot)
Coach: Peter Bosz