Bailey double sends Leverkusen top of the Bundesliga

Leon Bailey scored twice to steer unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen to a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Bayer Leverkusen's Lucas Alario celebrates with Nadiem Amiri after scoring the team's fourth goal. - REUTERS

Jamaican Leon Bailey scored twice to steer unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen to a 4-1 victory over Hoffenheim on Sunday and take over the lead in the Bundesliga for the first time in six years.

MATCH CENTRE

Bailey first struck after four minutes, thundering in a shot from outside the box and from a tight angle past keeper Oliver Baumann.

The 23-year-old winger then intercepted an inexplicable 30-metre back pass from Andrej Kramaric to beat the keeper again for his fourth goal of the campaign.

The Jamaican had also scored twice in his team’s midweek 4-0 win over Slavia Prague in the Europa League.

Leverkusen, which was missing half a dozen players to injury and COVID-19, was caught napping when Christoph Baumgartner was left unmarked to charge forward and curl in a shot to cut the deficit in the 50th.

Leverkusen’s 17-year-old Florian Wirtz, however, restored its two-goal lead five minutes later with a solo effort before Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch was sent off with a second booking in the 65th.

Stoppage-time penalty

A stoppage-time penalty from Lucas Alario sealed its seventh win in the last eight games and it leapfrogged Bayern Munich into first place on 25 points.

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“This is certainly worth something,” said midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger. “We all know how difficult it is in this league with so many tough teams to be at the top.”

“It is a very positive snapshot of the moment but we still need to value it.”

Leverkusen travels to Cologne on Wednesday before taking on Bayern next week.

Bayern, which stumbled to a 1-1 draw at Union Berlin on Saturday, is one point behind, level with RB Leipzig, 2-0 winner over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

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