Germany: Bundesliga
5 - 2
(2 - 0)
K. Demirbay (18), K. Demirbay (31), L. Bailey (56), F. Wirtz (68), D. Gray (84)
S. Kalajdzic (50), S. Kalajdzic (77)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15.30 Kickoffs: Demirbay nets brace, Gray opens account in Leverkusen's 5-2 rout of Stuttgart

Peter Bosz's Werkself finally snapped their skid of bad luck with a five-goal outburst to finish off a very erratic Stuttgart. 
Head-coaches Peter Bosz and Pellegrino Matarazzo squared off with four personnel changes apiece after respective midweek Pokal fixtures. Both trainers desperately needed a win after being eliminated from Germany's domestic cup a few days prior. Bosz's selections ended up getting the better of the American trainer's in a seven-goal thriller at the BayArena.

For Leverkusen, Florian Wirtz, Jonathan Tah, Daley Sinkgraven, and Moussa Diaby all returned to their normal places in the team's 4-1-4-1. Matarazzo reintroduced his first team keeper and replaced the injured Daniel Didavi with Philipp Förster. In two somewhat surprising moves, the VfB gaffer sat both Borna Sosa and Sasa Kalajdzic. Roberto Massimo and Mateo Klimowicz served as the replacement attackers.

Wingers Diaby and Leon Bailey combined to get an early effort off the crossbar. The tone was set. The visiting Swabians pieced together a few offensive chances, but their NRW hosts took the lead already in the 18th minute. Kerem Demirbay fired home a rebound off a blocked Diaby shot. One way traffic ensued, with Bailey, Demirbay, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah all coming close to doubling the advantage.

The 2-0 would come just after the half-hour mark. Bailey managed to unlock Demirbay in the 31st. The former German national team starter skillfully outdeked VfB keeper Gregor Kobel to complete his brace. Patrick Schick and Charles Aranguiz nearly added a third before halftime. Stuttgart had no answers other than to hope for more magic on the counter from Silas Wamangituka.

Tah found himself unlucky to hit the post four minutes after the restart. Against the run of play, substitutes Erik Thommy and Sasa Kalajdzic halved the deficit one minute later. Werkself wingers Diaby and Bailey responded quickly, putting the hosts up 3-1 six minutes after that. Wunderkind Florian Wirtz appeared to have put it beyond all doubt with a 68th-minute finish to give Bayer a three-goal-advantage.

Kalajdzic and Thommy nevertheless pulled another one back in the 77th. The free-flowing end-to-end action never ceased. Schick narrowly missed a pair of chances to give Leverkusen their fifth. In a fitting end to an action-packed encounter, new acquisition Demarai Gray opened his account for his new club with a spectacular solo in the 84th.  

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, RB Leipzig were eventually able to break down last-place Schalke on set-pieces and leave Gelsenkirchen with a 3-0 victory. In another match with huge ramifications for the relegation race, FSV Mainz 05 held off ten-man 1. FC Union Berlin for a 1-0 win. The Pfälzer hero was none other than Moussa Niakhaté, who converted the decisive penalty for his third goal in three fixtures. 

The struggles continued for Edin Terzic's BVB. Erling Haaland and Youssoufa Moukoko combined beautifully for a late tally. Unfortunately, it proved Dortmund's only goal as they fell to Freiburg 1-2. VfL Wolfsburg kept up their strong run of form with a 2-0 defeat of Augsburg. 

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