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Germany: Bundesliga
0 - 3
(0 - 1)
Mainz 05
S. van den Berg (18)
Á. Grimaldo (59), J. Hofmann (65)

15:30 Kickoffs:
Grimaldo shoots Bayer back to Bundesliga summit, Union drop fifth in a row

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Ahead of this evening's "Top-Spiel", title-chasers Bayer 04 Leverkusen have placed the pressure squarely back on German record Champions FC Bayern München. Xabi Alonso's Werkself are back atop the Bundesliga table after defeating FSV Mainz 05 3-0.

VfL Wolfsburg and VfB Stuttgart were also able to collect three points with 2-0 wins over Köln and Frankfurt, respectively. Borussia Mönchengladbach grabbed their first win of the season with a 3-1 win over VfL Bochum. 

The trouble continues for German Champions' League representatives 1. FC Union Berlin. Urs Fischer's "Eisern Union" lost 0-1 away at Heidenheim and have now been defeated five times on the spin. 
Alejandro Grimaldo
Alejandro GrimaldoSport Lisboa e Benfica
Leverkusen's undefeated start to the 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign continues. Germany's red company team - despite not necessarily playing their best match during a trip to last-placed FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday afternoon - defeated Bo Svensson's Rheinhessen 3-0 at the MEWA Arena and are back atop the Bundesliga table. Attention now turns to German record champions FC Bayern München, the only side capable of overtaking Bayer this weekend.

Xabi, unsurprisingly, made no changes to the winning XI that rolled over Heidenheim last Sunday. Arguably the league's most in-form side remained in tact. Mainz trainer Svensson made two changes to the team that lost last week away at Augsburg. Two players once again fit to start entered the XI. Brajan Gruda and Sepp van den Berg took the place of Ludovic Ajorque and Tom Krauß. Svensson's team maintained their 3-4-3 shape, with Karim Onisiwo moving up to the lead-striker slot and Dominik Kohr moving out of the back-three and into midfield.

The hosting Rheinhessen did well to disrupt Leverkusen's game in the opening minutes, restricting the Werkself flow in early possession and forcing an early tactical foul out of Granit Xhaka. After holding their own for the opening quarter-of-an-hour, however, Mainz unfortunately had to contend with a bitter scene. A routine cross from Jeremie Frimpong on the right was deflected into his own net by van den Berg. Svensson's side found themselves down 0-1 without really having even conceded a half chance.

To their credit, Mainz continued to play forward courageously for the duration of the half. The Pfälzer nevertheless could do much in the final third. Leverkusen too were lacking in ideas and the opening 45 concluded without much more of note happening. After a similarly quiet start to the second half, B04 keeper Lukas Hradecky prevented Mainz from equalizing with an excellent save of an Onisiwo header off a corner in the 54th. Five minutes later, Leverkusen had the 2-0 off their own set-piece.

Just as he did in Munich two weeks ago, Alejandro Grimaldo sent home a scorcher off a free kick. It wasn't long until the superior team wrapped matters up. Leverkusen's ultra-strong striker Victor Boniface shook off a foul on an advantage play in the 65th. Boniface played in Adli, who in turn fed Jonas Hofmann for the 3-0. Boniface came close to scoring himself a little later in a match that was largely devoid of highlights afterwards.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, VfL Wolfsburg were able to overcome offensively anemic Eintracht Frankfurt with a 2-0 win at the Volkswagen Arena. Danish striker Jonas Wind recored a brace in the victory. After being dominated during the opening 45, Eintracht were improving before losing Mario Götze on double yellows at the hour mark.

VfB Stuttgart also topped opponents 1. FC Köln via a 2-0 scoreline. The match at the RheinEnergieStadion actually remained fairly evenly balanced until the final phase. Stuttgart sensation Serhou Guirassy didn't end up scoring against his former club. Instead, it was former SV Meppen man Deniz Undav who bagged a brace off the bench.

In the biggest upset of the latest set of simultaneous kickoffs, 1. FC Heidenheim took out visiting 1. FC Union Berlin 1-0 at the Voith Arena. A Jan-Niklas Beste set-piece stunner enabled Frank Schmidt's newly promoted side to pull ahead of Urs Fischer's Champions' League representatives in the table. Continuously struggling Union have now lost five matches on-the-trot and are in 11th place on six points.

There was a late full-time whistle at the Vonvia Ruhrstadion on the Castroper Straße. Kickoff in Gladbach's visit to Bochum was delayed for over ten minutes due to the blockage of the emergency exits by the visiting fans. Gladbach emerged winners in the duel of two previously winless teams. A 3-1 win for Gerardo Seoane's Fohlenelf featured a brace from reinserted starter Alassane Plea.

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