• вторник, 16 април 2024

Leverkusen beat Mainz to extend league lead and set unbeaten record

Leverkusen beat Mainz to extend league lead and set unbeaten record

Leverkusen, Germany, 24 February 2024 (dpa/MIA) - Bayer Leverkusen claimed a hard fought 2-1 victory over 10-man Mainz on Friday to go 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and extend their unbeaten run to German record 33 matches.


Robert Andrich scored the winner in the 68th minute with a lot of help from Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner, who failed to hold on to the shot from a distance after earlier making several big saves.


Leverkusen had led from Granit Xhaka's third minute stunner into the far top corner, his first goal since a summer move from Arsenal.


Dominik Kohr levelled five minutes later as second last Mainz made life difficult for Leverkusen who were then denied several times by Zentner.


Phillipp Mwene and Lee Jae-Sung threatened after the restart for second last Mainz, who had won at the same place 12 months ago, but Andrich finally restored the lead and Mainz substitute Jessic Ngankam was sent off in the 80th.


"We didn't play a good game and won with a little luck but we won't complain about the three points," Andrich told streaming portal DAZN.


Xhaka added: "Compliments to Mainz, they made life difficult for us. But three points are three points, and at the end of the season no one will ask how they were achieved."


Leverkusen moved 11 points clear of title holders Bayern Munich, who on Saturday host RB Leipzig in the wake of three straight defeats in the Bundesliga and Champions League, and following a mid-week announcement that they will part ways with coach Thomas Tuchel after the season.


Leverkusen are the first Bundesliga team to go 33 games without defeat, breaking a tie with Bayern who had not lost in 32 games between December 2020 and September 2021.


They last lost 3-0 in Bochum in the past season's Bundesliga finale on May 27. Since then, they have won 29 of their 33 matches in the Bundesliga, German Cup and Europa League, the only dropped points coming in four Bundesliga draws.


"It is not a streak but quality. We deserve to be where we are," said Xhaka.


"If you are 11 points ahead you have a lot to lose. We have to stay concentrated. There can be a phase when you lose two or three games but I think we could handle that well," added the midfielder who was in a similar position with Arsenal last year before losing the Premier League title to Manchester City.


Photo: EPA

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