Bundesliga News

Germany: Bundesliga
4 - 0
(2 - 0)
Schalke 04
M. Diaby (38), J. Frimpong (41), J. Frimpong (53), Paulinho (90)

Xabi Alonso off to a dream start to life as a Bundesliga coach

By Will Shopland   @Will_Shopland

Xabi Alonso and Bayer Leverkusen gave a warning sign to the rest of the Bundesliga by putting four past Schalke. The visitors were picked apart to pile the pressure upon Frank Kramer.
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After the departure of Gerardo Seoane as head coach, the BayArena was anticipating the visit of Schalke on Matchday 9. Bayer Leverkusen were looking for their first home win of the campaign, as Xabi Alonso was poised to take advantage of a Schalke side void of confidence.

It was to be Leverkusen who started the brighter. A remarkable piece of skill on the halfway line allowed Frimpong the freedom of the right-hand side. However, Moussa Diaby could only find the side netting after Frimpong played the ball inside.

The onslaught on Schalke’s left-hand side continued as Frimpong and Diaby’s combination of speed and skill left Florian Flick on the floor. When the cutback found Schick it was to be Schalke’s display on the art of defending to block any route to the goal.

Although, as Schalke had seen in Dortmund, defending for 90 minutes did not prove fruitful. After 38 minutes Moussa Diaby found a pocket of space in front of the Schalke back line and his strike from distance nestled into the top corner.

An explosive end to the half continued as Leverkusen’s right-hand side finally proved too much for the Schalke defence. Diaby found Frimpong with the whole goal in his sight. Schalke attempted to once again get numbers across but a low strike found the far corner.

Going into the break Xabi Alonso could not have dreamed of a better start, whereas Frank Kramer would be wondering how to get back into a game that they had not been in since the first whistle.

A double substitution and change to a back five for Schalke at the break saw the introduction of Thomas Ouwejan and Can Aydin. An attempt to deal with the width of Leverkusen that had been causing issues in the first half.

However, it was to be Diaby and Frimpong linking up again through the centre of the pitch to catch Schalke out this time. As Diaby’s through ball found Frimpong running in behind who calmly placed the ball across goal to pile the pressure upon Frank Kramer.

After the third goal and Diaby was taken off the threat Leverkusen offered was minimal as they began seeing the game out. Although Leverkusen were not done there as the gaps in Schalke’s defence continued. Paulinho ran in behind and the man out of favour under Seoane made an instant impact off the bench for Xabi Alonso.

As promising as this was for Die Werkself, Schalke will be wondering how they will navigate their way through the campaign. If the faith is kept in Frank Kramer then they will need to show more ambition on the pitch.

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Bundesliga - Leverkusen - Mainz 05