Former Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz is the new man in charge of Bayer Leverkusen after Heiko Herrlich was fired, despite winning four of the last five games.
Bosz guided Ajax to the Europa League final in 2017, but was dismissed by current Bundesliga leaders Dortmund last December after just five months in charge. Leverkusen have given Bosz a contract until June 2020 and he will take charge on January 4, with his first game to be against Borussia Mönchengladbach on January 19 after the Bundesliga’s winter break.
After beating Hertha Berlin 3-1 on Saturday, Leverkusen are ninth in the table and seven points off the Champions League places.
Leverkusen’s sports director Rudi Völler justified the decision to fire Herrlich after 17 months because of the “stagnation of the team’s development”. Under the 47-year-old Leverkusen finished fifth in Germany’s top flight last season, missing out on a Champions League place on goal difference.
Yannick Gerhardt’s 89th minute winner settled a helter-skelter clash between Augsburg and Wolfsburg and sent the Wolves into fifth place over the winter break. The visitors raced into a 2-0 lead, but but Augsburg turned it around after the restart, with Rani Khedira pulling one back and Sergio Cordova’s header restoring parity. But Gerhardt provided the deftest of touches to secure the points.
The final Bundesliga game of 2018 ended in a draw as Mainz hold Hoffenheim, who missed the chance to go 6th. Kerem Demirbay’s neat turn and finish opened the scoring for the hosts, but Mainz were only behind for five minutes. Jean-Philippe Mateta pounced on a poor clearance by Kevin Vogt and slammed the ball home. Hoffenheim have now drawn six in a row while Mainz haven’t won in four.
Bruma’s late winner sent RB Leipzig into the winter break with a victory. A stellar strike from Lukas Klostermann put the home side ahead early, and Timo Werner took advantage of a poor pass from Max Kruse to double the home side’s lead. Goals from Kruse and substitute Josh Sargent leveled the scoreline with 10 minutes to play, but Bruma’s late winner helped Leipzig secure all three points.
The defending Bundesliga champions were triumphant in Niko Kovac’s return to Frankfurt. Franck Ribery (left) scored twice for the Bavarians, giving him four goals in his last four league games. Rafinha added a third just before fulltime as Bayern moved within six points of league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Dortmund rebounded from their first league defeat in midweek by triumphing over Gladbach in Signal Iduna Park. Jadon Sancho scored from a very tight angle to put the league leaders ahead, but Christoph Kramer equalized for the visitors just before the break. Marco Reus (pictured above) combined with Mario Götze to score the eventual game winner in the second half.
Two goals from Kai Havertz (third from right) helped Leverkusen pick up their third straight home victory. Kevin Volland got things started for the home side, tapping in a pass from Charles Aranguiz. Havertz capitalized on a Rune Jarstein mistake to double Leverkusen’s lead, though a goal from Jordan Torunarigha kept Hertha in the game. A Havertz chip shortly after halftime sealed the win.
After handing Dortmund their first league defeat on Tuesday, newly promoted Düsseldorf picked up their third consecutive victory with a win over Hannover. Oliver Fink (pictured), currently one of the Bundesliga’s oldest players at 36 years old, tapped in the game-winner in second half stoppage time. Düsseldorf now sit four points ahead of the drop zone heading into the winter break.
Schalke ended a four-game winless run by defeating Stuttgart and former coach Markus Weinzierl. Steven Skrzybski (third from left) gave the Royal Blues an early 1-0 lead and a Mario Gomez own goal shortly after halftime doubled their advantage. Nicolas Gonzalez got Stuttgart on the scoreboard in the 76th minute, but a strike from Ahmed Kutucu sealed the win for Schalke.
Nuremberg’s winless streak extended to 11 games after they fell to Freiburg in the Max Morlock Stadium. A free kick from Christian Günter put Freiburg ahead in the first half. The home side appeared to have found an equalizer shortly after halftime, but the goal from Adam Zrelak was disallowed for offside. The Franconian side enters the winter break as the Bundesliga’s worst team.
“After a series of unsatisfactory performances in the first half of the season, we are in a situation that calls for a change of coach, from our point of view,” said Völler.
Bosz had been Völler’s first choice to coach Leverkusen in July 2017, but when the Dutchman opted for Dortmund, Herrlich got the job. ”Heiko gave our team an important boost last year after a very difficult season and got us back in international competition,” said Völler.
Leverkusen finished top of their Europa League group and will face Russian side Krasnodar in the last 32.