Matchday 1 in the Bundesliga was a hard-fought battle for RB Leipzig, but sadly it ended in a 3-2 defeat at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. It was an even affair for much of the match, but goals from Jeremie Frimpong (24'), Jonathan Tah (35') and Florian Wirtz (64') were enough to earn the home side all three points. RBL got back into contention thanks to headers from Dani Olmo (39') and Loïs Openda (71') but fell short of an equaliser.
The Werkself started on the front foot and pressed the RBL backline aggressively. Leipzig grew into the game however, which was constantly played at a high pace with positive football from both teams. Three goals then fell in the space of 15 minutes. Frimpong and Tah put Bayer 04 two goals ahead, although Dani Olmo's near-post header had the visitors back in contention at the interval.
Janis Blaswich had to be at his best to keep out Wirtz early on in the second half, while Benny Henrichs also came close down the other end. A lucky miscued shot from Wirtz did restore Levekusen's two-goal cushion shortly after the hour mark, although that deficit was reduced once again courtesy of a first Leipzig goal for Loïs Openda. However, the Belgian then missed a golden chance to level the scores, only hitting the post.
Head coach Marco Rose's side didn't let their heads drop and continued to press for an equaliser, but it just wasn't to be. The RBL boys had to leave Leverkusen empty-handed after a narrow defeat.
8th minute: Werner with the first chance
- Timo has a pop! Both teams have been energetic since the get-go. The first opening is for Timo Werner, after his run in behind is picked out. The shot from a tight angle flashes across the face of goal.
24th minute: Frimpong opens the scoring
- Granit Xhaka plays a long ball into Victor Boniface, who isn't closed down quickly enough. He has time to play a low ball across the box to the unmarked Jeremie Frimpong, who has an easy finish from six yards.
35th minute: Tah makes it 2-0
- Jonathan Tah rises highest from a Jonas Hofmann corner-kick and gets enough power behind his header to beat the goalkeeper.
45th minute +4: Half time
- Still everything to play for! Thanks to Olmo's goal just before the break, the boys are right back in this one now.
64th minute: Leverkusen increase the lead
- A lucky third. Frimpong breaks away down the right flank and pulls the ball back to the edge of the box, where Wirtz is waiting. He scuffs his first-time shot, but the ball loops perfectly over the head of Blaswich and in off the underside of the bar. 3-1 to Leverkusen.
74th minute: Post!
- So close! A brilliant piece of interplay from Poulsen and Olmo opens up the chance for Openda to finish into the empty net. The ball gets stuck under his feet first, but he has another chance to finish on the turn. However, his shot smashes against the base of the post with Leverkusen defenders scrambling to try and block it on the line.
90th minute +6: Full time
- An unlucky defeat! Our boys fought tooth and nail until the end, but it just wasn't to be. Heads up, boys. Another three points are up for grabs next week!
Bundesliga | Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs. RB Leipzig
B04: Hradecky - Tapsoba, Tah, Koussounou - Frimpong (78' Arthur), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo - Hofmann (89' Amiri), Wirtz (75' Andrich) - Boniface (89' Hlozek)
RBL: Blaswich - Henrichs, Simakan, Orban (C), Raum - Schlager (84' Fábio Carvalho), Seiwald (62' Castello Jr.) - Xavi (62' Kampl), Dani Olmo - Werner (62' Poulsen), Openda (75' Forsberg)
RBL bench: Zingerle (GK), Klostermann, Baumgartner, Novoa
B04 bench: Kovar (GK), Fosu-Mensah, Münz, Mbamba, Puerta
1-0 Frimpong (24'), 2-0 Tah (35'), 3-1 Wirtz (64') | 2-1 Olmo (39'), 3-2 Openda (71')
Boniface (69') | Seiwald (62'), Castello Jr. (81')
- Amadou Haidara (muscle tear) and El Chadaille Bitshiabu (MCL) were unavailable for the opening matchday.
- Christoph Baumgartner is back in team training and was in the squad for the trip to Leverkusen.
- Benjamin Šeško had some inflammation of a tendon in his foot, so missed the game.
- Péter Gulácsi is "on a good path" according to Marco Rose and continues to work on his comeback.
- Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (München)
- 1st assistant: Rene Rohde (Drolshagen)
- 2nd assistant: Marcel Unger (Berlin)
- Fourth official: Tobias Reichel (Hannover)
- Video assistant: Tobias Welz (Pullach)