Bayer Leverkusen – Borussia Dortmund: Dortmund Defend The New Pretenders To The Throne (1-1)
Bayer Leverkusen needed a 79th minute equalizer to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. After taking an early lead, Borussia Dortmund defended deep to frustrate their opponents. Despite controlling the majority of possession and having 23 shots, as Xabi Alonso put it post-match: “we didn’t get the chances we wanted” and Leverkusen therefore had to settle for a point.
Tactical analysis and match report by Nick Smoothy.
The current Bundesliga league leaders hosted last season’s runners-up on Matchday 13. Prior to kick-off, Bayer Leverkusen were ten points ahead of opponents Borussia Dortmund in the standings. With their closest rivals, Bayern Munich, game postponed this weekend, Xabi Alonso’s side knew a victory would also put them five points clear at the top.
After rotating the team on Thursday evening in European action, Leverkusen were back to full strength for domestic matters. Xabi Alonso made two changes from the side which won 3-0 at Werder Bremen a week prior, with Jonathan Tah and Edmond Tapsoba coming into the back three to partner Odilon Kossonou. Elsewhere, it was Jeremie Frimpong and Álex Grimaldo as wing-backs, Granit Xhaka and Exequiel Palacios in central midfield, and Jonas Hofmann and Florian Wirtz supporting Victor Boniface in attack.
For Borussia Dortmund, after starting the season nine unbeaten (six wins and three draws), they suffered back-to-back defeats before getting back on track with three points against Borussia Monchengladbach last weekend. Dortmund were coming into the game buoyant after securing qualification . . .