Victory in Cologne: Leverkusen turns Derby and climbs
Bayer Leverkusen is slowly freeing itself from the table cellar. At 2-1 in Cologne, coach Alonso’s team showed an energetic performance.
After the next step up from the bottom of the table in the Bundesliga, the fans of Bayer Leverkusen their derby winners with loud chants. The pros of 1. FC Köln sank after the 1: 2 (1: 0) in the Rheinderby, dejected and stunned on the lawn.
While Leverkusen are slowly forgetting their catastrophic start to the season after their second win within a few days, FC is very frustrated. “It’s very, very annoying,” said FC goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe. “We had the first half completely under control, and the second half for long stretches.”
Nevertheless, the guests won in the end because Nadiem Amiri turned the game around after an initially disappointing performance with a deflected free kick (65th minute) and Moussa Diaby (71st). Benno Schmitz‘ First Bundesliga goal (30th) was not enough for Cologne in the end.
Two different halves
“The team’s performance in the first half was unacceptable. Thank God we improved that in the second half,” said Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky. Midfielder Robert Andrich said: “We’re happy to take such a nice, dirty derby win with us.”
With 15 points now, Leverkusen have narrowed the gap to FC by just two points after 14 games and could beat arch-rivals on weekend overtake for the first time this season. Bayer earned the first away three under Alonso with a significant improvement in performance after the break.
In the first half only FC had set the tone. The furious 5-0 win over Union Berlin at the weekend initially gave Bayer neither security nor self-confidence. The Werkself allowed themselves to be put too much on the defensive early on and were completely harmless up front. As in the first two away games under coach Alonso, Bayer was on the way to another frighteningly weak and harmless performance.
Cologne initially strong
Instead of the guests, who normally focus on ball possession, FC played the game – and he did it with verve. The Cologne team dominated with the typical energy, vehemence and willingness to run. The tour after half an hour was overdue. Schmitz completed a great attack with his volleyball in his 100th competitive game for Cologne.
After the change, Alonso gave the go-ahead to catch up after a good hour with a triple change. It was only now that Leverkusen were in the game, putting pressure on them and acting offensively, as they were used to. Bayer was lucky with the free kick because Amiri’s attempt was deflected into the goal. Leverkusen then showed their offensive class in the 2-1: After Cologne lost the ball, the hosts quickly went in front of the goal, Frimpong put it on Diaby – and he converted from close range. The Cologne team recovered late and only came back towards the end of the game.
One day before the World Cup squad was nominated, Cologne-born Florian Wirtz was still missing from the Leverkusen squad. The offensive talent tore his cruciate ligament in the 0-1 draw in the last derby in Cologne in March. After four competitive games, Cologne captain Hector was back for the first time and showed a good performance.