Bayer Leverkusen returned to winning ways in the German Bundesliga on Friday with a 1-0 victory at SC Freiburg to underline their Champions League qualifying ambitions.
Star player Kai Havertz toe-poked the winner through the legs of goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow from a left angle in the 54th minute after a one-two with Leon Bailey.
It was the only serious chance for Leverkusen who fielded 17-year-old Florian Wirtz as a starter for the first time but had Havertz limp off shortly after his goal.
On the other end, Lucas Hoeler aimed wide right unmarked in the 43rd, and Nils Petersen's late shot was too tame to beat Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky.
"We dominated the match. It was tight but they didn't have many chances. In the end it was a deserved win," Leverkusen's Sven Bender said.
Leverkusen rose to third as they rebounded from a mid-week 4-1 home loss against Wolfsburg which had ended a run of seven games without defeat.
They are eight points behind leaders Bayern Munich and one off Borussia Dortmund, but one ahead of RB Leipzig and three clear of Borussia Moenchengladbach. The top four finishers earn a Champions League spot.
Freiburg remain winless in the four games since the league restart from the coronavirus-related two-month break, and in eighth place are four points off Wolfsburg in sixth for the last Europa League berth.
Australian Associated Press