Bayer Leverkusen maintained their unbeaten record this season with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund, courtesy of a late goal from Nigerian striker Victor Boniface. Dortmund took an early lead with Julian Ryerson finding the net just five minutes into the match, appearing poised to be the first team this season to defeat Leverkusen. However, Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso's strategic substitution of Patrik Schick paid off, as the Czech attacker assisted Boniface for the crucial equalizer 11 minutes from time.
The draw ensures Leverkusen remains three points ahead of Bayern Munich on the league ladder, although Bayern has a game in hand following the postponement of their Saturday match against Union Berlin due to heavy snowfall. Alonso, making eight changes to the lineup after their Europa League victory over Hacken, faced a resilient Dortmund side grappling with a pre-match flu wave that sidelined key players like Donyell Malen, Niklas Suele, and Ramy Bensebaini.
Dortmund, buoyed by their Champions League progression with a win against AC Milan, seized an early lead through Ryerson's goal, capitalizing on Niclas Fuellkrug's back-heel assist. Leverkusen intensified their efforts in the first half, with Florian Wirtz's stunning goal disallowed by VAR for a marginal offside. The second half saw relentless pressure from Leverkusen, culminating in Alonso's impactful substitution of Schick, who quickly assisted Boniface for the crucial equalizing goal.
In an earlier Sunday match, Freiburg secured a narrow 1-0 victory against struggling Mainz, with Austrian striker Michael Gregoritsch scoring the decisive goal in the second half. Despite the tight scoreline, the game featured numerous chances, including Mainz's Sepp van den Berg coming close in the first half and Gregoritsch being twice denied by the post. The victory, Freiburg's first league win since October, propels them to eighth place, while Mainz continues to grapple with relegation, remaining mired in the bottom zone.