Germany: Bundesliga
0 - 2
(0 - 1)
FC Köln
J. Thielmann (14)
J. Frimpong (37), Á. Grimaldo (73)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Thielmann sees red as Leverkusen lap up Rhinederby delight

Taking advantage of Bayern’s Friday night slip up in Breisgau, Xavi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen widened the gap at the summit with derby success in a 2-0 win against neighbouring 1.FC Koln.
Die Werkself took a step closer to the Meisterschale this mild afternoon with victory in the Cathedral City of Koln. It was a tense opening quarter reflective of any derby clash, however Leverkusen received the numerical advantage when Jan Thielmann was brandished with a red card. The studs of Koln’s striker unintentionally raked the achilles of Granit Xhaka, and little could be done to alter arbiter Tobias Stieler’s decision.

While Die Geissbocke had the occasional chance to counterattack, Leverkusen established a stranglehold on the game. First to test Marvin Schwabe was Florian Wirtz whose effort was smartly repelled at the near post. However, the Koln goalkeeper stood no chance in the 37th minute as Leverkusen made the breakthrough. Alex Grimaldo crossed centrally for Patrik Schick. The Czech international’s deft flick fell to Jeremie Frimpong at the back post who converted with ease from 5 yards.

Koln came within the post’s breadth from equalising after the break. Rasmus Carstensen picked out Sargis Adamyan in the box. The Armenian’s strike kissed the post and rebounded to safety. In fact, the hosts looked the better team for large parts of the early second-half despite playing with 10-men.

Ultimately a team of Leverkusen’s quality will always find the perfect time to strike the fatal blow. In the 73rd minute, substitute Amine Adli combined nicely with Gimaldo who fired low beneath Schwabe for 2-0. Chances were few and far between for Xabi Alonso’s troops, but they made them count when they came. A 10-point berth between Bayern Munich makes for just rewards as a result of this derby win.

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