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RECAP: Leipzig Fall to Leverkusen in Bundesliga Opener

photo by DPA/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

by Anthony J. Merced

RB Leipzig were brought back down to earth by Xavi Alonso and Bayer Leverkusen who defeated the 2023 Supercup Champions 3-2 at the BayArena to kick off the Bundesliga campaign. A rough first half saw Leipzig fall behind 2-0 before mounting a comeback that fell short despite many missed opportunities.

Leverkusen came in with a game plan that saw them possess the ball and pressure Leipzig into quick decisions. One such play led to a turnover that created the first goal. After giving up the ball in the midfield, Victor Boniface had trouble controlling the ball in the box but was poised enough to find Jeremie Frimpong who beat Leipzig keeper Janis Blaswich for the game's opening goal. 11 minutes later, Leverkusen doubled the league with a headed effort from Jonathan Tah.

Leipzig responded well before the end of the first half when Dani Olmo notched his first goal of the campaign with a header. The goal sent the away team into halftime feeling as if an equalizer was at hand. However, Leverkusen was not to be outdone as they came out to start the remainder of the game with more fire than their Leipzig counterparts. Frimpong controlled the ball well and found youngster Florian Wirtz, who's effort hit the crossbar and bounced into the net in the 64th minute, restoring the two goal lead.

Leipzig got one back from new-signing Lois Openda, who took down a pass from the head of Mohamed Simakan. Openda did get another opportunity minutes later but hit the post with an open net in front. Leverkusen held on to grab all three points and continue the blossoming rivalry between these two teams.

Leipzig will play their first home game next week against VfB Stuttgart at Red Bull Arena on Friday. 

STARTING XI:

RB Leipzig: Blaswich; Henrichs, Simakan, Orban, Raum, Seiwald (62' Kampl), Schlager (84' Carvalho), Simons (62' Lukeba), Werner (62' Poulsen), Openda (75' Forsberg), Olmo

Bayer Lekerkusen: Hradecky; Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba, Frimpong (78' Arthur), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo, Hofmann (89' Arimi), Wirtz (75' Andrich), Boniface (89' Hlozek)

SCORING SUMMARY:
24' (Bayer Leverkusen) Jeremie Frimpong assisted by Victor Boniface
35' (Bayer Leverkusen) Jonathan Tah
39' (RB Leipzig) Dani Olmo
64' (Bayer Leverkusen) Florian Wirtz assisted by Jeremie Frimpong
71' (RB Leipzig) Luis Openda assisted by Mohamed Simakan

DISCIPLINE:
62' (RB Leipzig) Nicolas Seiwald - YELLOW CARD
69' (Bayer Leverkusen) Victor Boniface - YELLOW CARD
81' (RB Leipzig) Castello Lukeba - YELLOW CARD

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