Germany: Bundesliga
FT
1 - 2
(1 - 0)
FC Köln
Leverkusen
B. Schmitz (30)
N. Amiri (65), M. Diaby (71)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Leverkusen complete Rhinederby comeback victory over Köln

Leverkusen made the 25km-long road trip to the cathedral city of Köln for their Matchday 14 Rhinederby clash. The sides came into this highly anticipated affair in two different veins of form – Köln looked fatigued in their 2-0 loss to Freiburg, while Leverkusen arrived buoyed after their 5-0 trashing of table toppers Union Berlin. Steffen Baumgart’s squad have been blighted with injuries despite their impressive league position. Fortunately, skipper Jonas Hector was declared fit to start in front of the firework-illuminated Süd Kurve stand tonight.
Köln settled the better of the two teams inside the opening exchanges. The hosts also fired the first warning shot of the night when Kainz found Huseinbasic in the box. Köln’s October player of the month teed up Adamyan whose tame but awkward shot forced a save from Hradecký. The lightning quick duo of Jeremie Frimpong and Moussa Diaby showed glimmers of threat down the right wing despite failing to trouble Schwäbe.

On the stroke of the half hour, the Billygoats established a 1-0 lead in sublime fashion. Adamyan’s overhit cross landed on the chest of Benno Schmitz, who controlled and fired a sumptuous volley beyond the helpless Hradecký. An incredible way for the marauding full-back to mark his 100th competitive appearance for Köln and first ever Bundesliga goal. Hudson-Odoi managed to pick out the head of Tapsoba from a dead ball scenario. Nonetheless, Die Werkself couldn’t find an equalising goal before Tobias Stieler blew for half-time.

Köln remained firmly in the ascendency after the restart. Hector did his best to replicate Schmitz’s goal when he rasped a shot towards goal from 25 metres. Once more, Hradecky was there to prevent his side from further falling behind with a fingertip save. The Finnish goalkeeper was relied upon again on 53 minutes, denying Adamyan for a second time, while Tapsoba made an all-important clearance.

No sooner had he been substituted on, Nadiem Amiri, who was pivotal against Union last Saturday, pulled his side level. A freekick on the edge of the box took a strong deflection off Kingsley Schindler which wrongfooted Schwäbe completely. The German midfielder had only entered the fray as part of a triple substitution with Adli and Tah six minutes earlier. Xabi Alonso’s men flipped the game on its head on 71 minutes. A flashy break down the left flank allowed Frimpong to square for Diaby who finished to an empty net. The RhineEnergie Stadion atmosphere drained as the scoreboard read 1-2.

Köln made a double change with 15 minutes to play. Jan Thielmann and Steffen Tigges were introduced as Baumgart switched to a 4-4-2 setup. The latter of the substitutes, Tigges, was bitterly unlucky not to have scored on 82 minutes when his header thundered off the crossbar. Things got feisty as the game ticked towards four minutes of injury time – Thielmann and Andrich squabbled to land themselves in yellow card territory. In the end, Leverkusen hung on for local bragging rights and secure back-to-back Bundesliga wins.

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