A dominant but wasteful Bayer Leverkusen ran out 2-1 winners against Borussia Dortmund at the BayArena on Tuesday night.
After surviving an initial bout of pressure, Moussa Diaby opened the scoring for Leverkusen in the 14th minute when he controlled a long pass from Leon Bailey and struck past Roman Burki in a one-on-one.
Leverkusen continued to mount plenty of pressure on the away side and pressed with lots of intensity, but Burki made numerous saves - a Bundesliga record for this season of 11 - to keep Dortmund in the game.
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Dortmund were slightly improved after the half-time break and Julian Brandt’s curled strike to equalise in the 67th minute punished Leverkusen for their missed chances.
But after making a couple of changes Leverkusen reasserted themselves and regained the lead with a brilliant counter-attack that 17-year-old Florian Wirtz concluded with an emphatic finish in the 80th minute.
The loss is a big blow to Dortmund's title hopes under caretaker manager Edin Terzic as they stay fourth and equal on points with Wolfsburg.
Leverkusen, however, move up to second and within four points of leaders Bayern Munich.
TALKING POINT - IS WIRTZ BETTER THAN HAVERTZ?
For many years Dortmund have been drawing worldwide attention for their production line of world-class young talent.
At the moment that features the likes of Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Youssoufa Moukoko, Jude Bellingham and Gio Reyna. However, it was the young attacking talent of Leverkusen who were deservedly in receipt of the most praise tonight, including 17-year-old attacking midfielder Wirtz.
Even before Wirtz netted the winner late on, he was receiving plaudits from pundits and fans alike, with many comparing him to former Leverkusen starlet Kai Havertz, who currently plies his trade for Chelsea.
His passing was fantastic and he showed willingness to attack the opposition defence on the dribble, while also tracking back and having a high work-rate defensively. Dortmund did not have an answer to the way in which he combined with Diaby on the right.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Moussa Diaby (Leverkusen) - Sometimes the word 'unplayable' is overused, but the France Under-21 international winger really was the definition of it tonight. Raphael Guerreiro and Mats Hummels struggled to deal with him throughout the game due to his pace and trickery, while the way he linked up with Bailey and Wirtz was so good it felt telepathic. The only criticism is that he probably should have scored a goal or two more.
Leverkusen: Hradecky 6, Bender 6, Wendell 7, Tah 7, Tapsoba 7, Wirtz 9, Aranguiz 6, Amiri 6, Diaby 9, Bailey 8, Alario 6.
Subs: Sinkgraven 6, Schick 5, Demirbay 6
Dortmund: Burki 8, Guerreiro 6, Hummels 5, Akanji 6, Meunier 6, Delaney 5, Bellingham 6, Reus 6, Sancho 7, Brandt 8, Haaland 6.
Subs: Reyna 6, Moukoko N/A, Tigges N/A
14' - GOOOAAAAALLLL!!! Fantastic ball from deep from Bailey to Diaby, who makes a run beyond the defence to meet it and controls the ball with a brilliant touch before striking past Burki to make it 1-0.
35' - CHANCE!! Diaby goes close again yet again and it really should be 2-0! The French winger dribbles past Guerreiro then continues on past Hummels despite the centre-back trying to drag him down and has a shot on goal that's initially spilled by Burki. Alario is fuming though, as he believes Diaby should've squared it to him!
43' - GREAT SAVE FROM BURKI!! Diaby wins the ball off Guerreiro, plays a quick one-two with Alario, then fires a curling effort from range that forces Burki into a brilliant diving save! Diaby is looking near-unstopppable tonight.
45' - SAVED AGAIN!!! Alario powers a low header towards goal and Burki keeps Dortmund in this game yet again with a fantastic save! Surely these missed chances will come back to haunt Leverkusen?
54' - CLOSE!! Finally a decent chance for Dortmund. Bellingham slots the ball through to Reus, who tries and fails to go round the 'keeper then has a short cross-goal pass cleared to Bellingham. However, the young midfielder fires well over the bar.
67' - GOOOAAAALLL!!! Dortmund equalise with a great strike from Brandt! He curls one in from outside of the box and Leverkusen are punished for being sloppy with their passing out of defence. Hradecky should've done better though between the sticks. He did get a hand to it after all.
80' - GOOOAAAAALLLL!!! Has Wirtz won it for Leverkusen?! That's a classic counter attack from them, which starts with a long pass from Tapsoba that Meunier fails to control. Diaby and Schick link up well on the left before passing it across to Wirtz who's wide open with the goal at his mercy and makes it 2-1 with an emphatic finish.
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