Leverkusen smash rival Cologne in Rhine Derby; Bayern extend lead
Bayer Leverkusen stormed back to claim a 5-1 win against local rivals FC Cologne in the Bundesliga on Saturday thanks to a four-goal explosion in the second half.
Leverkusen entered the Rhine Derby unbeaten at home, while Cologne boasted the Bundesliga’s best away record with ten points from five games. Something had to give, and it was the visitors who got off to a dream start when Bayer goalkeeper Bernd Leno took down Matthias Lehmann in the box with just three minutes played.
Leno was shown a yellow card, then Lehmann led him the other way on the spot kick to give the "Billy Goats" an early 1-0 lead. As expected, the visitors then fell back and were happy to let Leverkusen dictate the ball without creating much danger. In the 26th minute, however, Bayer drew level thanks to an uncharacteristic mistake from Leno’s opposite, Timo Horn.
The 21-year-old Cologne goalkeeper bottled a harmless Hakan Calhanoglu free kick, and Germany international Karim Bellarabi reacted quickest to tap in the equalizer.
Cologne offered little else going forward the rest of the way, and Leverkusen upped the tempo after halftime to break the game open. In the 61st, another free kick from Calhanoglu gave Bayer the 2-1 lead. This time, there was nothing Horn could do as the Turkish playmaker tucked it perfectly into the upper right left corner of the net. Calhanoglu has now scored all three of his league goals from direct free kicks.
Drmic, who had come on for Stefan Kiessling at halftime, then put the win away for the home side with a brace in nine minutes. Bellarabi added his second of the match and league-leading seventh goal of the season in stoppage time.
In the other matches Saturday afternoon, Bayern extended its league lead to 10 points pending Sunday’s results, easing past Hertha Berlin, 1-0; Schalke rode a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hat trick as it rebounded from the midweek whipping at the hands of Chelsea, defeating FSV Mainz, 4-1; Augsburg wiped out a halftime deficit to slide past Hamburger SV, 3-1, moving into fourth place in the process; and Werder Bremen climbed off the bottom of the table after hammering Paderborn, 4-0.
Those results left Borussia Dortmund dead last heading to Eintracht Frankfurt Sunday evening. Jurgen Klopp’s UEFA Champions League side are a point behind Freiburg, VfB Stuttgart and HSV, with all three directly above them. Leverkusen’s three points jumped them up to third in the table, level with VfL Wolfsburg, who don’t play until Sunday.
Bayern were their usual dominating self in the first half, but only one goal came from all of their possession. That was a cracker from Arjen Robben, whose drive from 24 yards beat Thomas Kraft with its power before settling into the left corner.
Then it was left to Josep Guardiola’s club to grind down their hosts, Hertha attacking in vain as the champions again demonstrated their ability to ride midfield possession and defensive organization. The only thing missing was the late, additional goals that have characterized Bayern’s Bundesliga performance this season.
Schalke jumped away to a two-goal lead in 25 minutes, both from their Dutch striker Huntelaar. The first came in the 9th minute after Erick Maxim Choupo-Moting headed into his path; the second was courtesy of space in the center of the box to finish a Max Meyer cross from the left. Mainz got one back just before the interval when Shinji Okazaki tapped home from close range. The Gelsenkirchen side was back in command when halftime substitute Tranquillo Barnetta made it 3-1 in the 54th minute then Huntelaar got his third seven minutes later.
Zlatko Junuzovic, with a free kick that curled into the top left corner, got Werder Bremen off to a ninth-minute flyer, then two goals in two minutes at the start of the second confirmed their third win in four starts under Viktor Skrpnik’s command.
Davie Selke headed home a rebound off the post, then Fin Bartels made it 3-0 in the 50th minute when he collected an attempted punch-out clearance by Paderborn keeper Lukas Kruse and had an open net to hit from 18 yards. Levent Aycicek snapped home a 10-yard chance past Kruse in the 80th minute to complete the account.
Hamburger SV waited until first half stoppage time to get ahead at Augsburg, Rafael van der Vaart meeting a fine Artjoms Rudnevs pass into the box which split the defense, but the lead proved illusory. Halil Altintop had Augsburg level five minutes after the restart, then Abdul Baba’s superb left wing cross found Raul Bobadilla to put them ahead in the 62nd. Paul Verhaegh clinched it with a 70th minute penalty kick.
TSG Hoffenheim saw a two-goal lead slip away against Hannover 96, then regained control after goals from Eugen Polanski and Niklas Suele four minutes apart in the second half to eventually win the evening kickoff match, 4-3.
Pirmin Schwegler, with a free kick in the 19th minute, and Kevin Volland, finishing a neat cross from Kim Jin-su had Hoffenheim up 2-0 after 37 minutes, but a scrappy headed goal from Lars Stindl and a far post finish by Joselu leveled things after the 53rd minute.
Joselu, who openly admits he did not enjoy his time at Hoffenheim, celebrated after he met a cross from Jimmy Briand, but that was the only time that Hannover was level. Polanski’s 30-yard drive was a goal worthy of winning any game while Suele timed his run through the trap perfectly before nailing a header just after the hour.