Bayer Leverkusen secured a scrappy 1-0 Bundesliga victory at Freiburg on Friday, bouncing back from a midweek setback to win with an opportunist goal by forward Kai Havertz.
The result lifted Bayer, who were hammered 4-1 by VfL Wolfsburg at home on Tuesday, two places up to third on 56 points from 29 games, eight behind champions and leaders Bayern Munich who entertain Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday.
Freiburg stayed eighth on 38 points after stretching their winless run to four games since the Bundesliga restarted on May 16 following a two-month lay-off caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Havertz netted a 54th-minute winner for the visitors when he poked a close-range shot through goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow’s legs after Leon Bailey threaded a superb pass through to the 20-year-old.
A dull first half produced a solitary chance for Freiburg in the 43rd minute, when Lucas Hoeler fired wide of the far post with only Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky to beat.
With Bayer gaining the upper hand after taking the lead, Julian Baumgartlinger had a goal disallowed for the visitors in the 63d minute for a push on Dominique Heintz and that finally seemed to spring the home side into action.
Nils Petersen missed Freiburg’s best chance for an equaliser in the 87th minute, allowing Hradecky to keep out his scuffed shot after a flowing move left him with time and space inside the penalty area.
In Saturday’s other standout fixture, former champions Werder Bremen, who are in danger of relegation as they are six points adrift of the safety zone, visit ninth-placed Schalke 04 who are on a 10-match winless league run.