Leverkusen dispatch Frankfurt with little fuss in 2-0 triumph
By Ultan Corcoran @UltanCorcoran
Goals from Paulinho and Schick made the difference, as Frankfurt failed to muster up much fight with attentions presumably on Thursday night's showdown with West Ham.
Although neither team dealt a significant blow towards their opposition’s goal, it was the home side who settled the faster with frontmen like Diaby looking menacing from the start. The home side eventually did make the breakthrough on 18 minutes when Paulinho made it 1-0 with his fourth goal of the season. Schick’s awareness to find Diaby was sublime, allowing the Frenchman to pick out the rapid Brazilian, who tapped home at the rear post.
Approaching the half hour mark and the game lacked chances other than the one taken for the goal earlier. Tapsoba directed a fine volley just off target from a deep freekick, but the Burkina Faso centre-half was offside. Schick briefly thought he doubled his side’s lead on 34 minutes when he rifled the ball past Trapp, but a quick VAR consultation spotted the striker in an offside position. Die Werkself were visibly in control of the game however, possibly due to Frankfurt’s clash with West Ham on Thursday looming over them.
Counterattacks were working wonderfully for B04 all game, and a 40th minute break presented Andrich with another chance. To the frustration of Diaby and Co., the German midfielder went alone and narrowly missed the bottom corner however Trapp was well placed to save. Hauge had a glimpse for Die Adler at the opposite end but failed to hit the target as half-time arrived.
Five minutes after the restart and the Czech Republic international did make it 2-0 when he slipped the ball under Trapp. Kossounou retrieved the ball in midfield and fed Diaby who in turn slipped in Schick. Initially, referee Benjamin Cortus signalled for offside once more, but he was quickly overruled as Schick bagged his 22nd goal of the campaign.
Iranian, Azmoun had another shot on goal in the 71st minute and drew the very best out of Kevin Trapp again who was more than equal to the powerful effort. Leverkusen continued to bombard the Frankfurt goal moments later when Tah headed narrowly wide from a corner. Hrustic had a rather audacious attempt for Glasner’s charges on a night where things didn’t quite click for the visitors offensively.
Leverkusen remains in 3rd place on the Bundesliga table, narrowing the gap to five points behind Dortmund. Frankfurt remain in 11th place, however they do have the small matter of their second-leg at home to West Ham in the semi-finals of the Europa League – their lacklustre showing tonight very much understandable given the magnitude of the game on Thursday night and the necessity of resting key players.