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HISTORIC AFTERNOON IN LEVERKUSEN
You never know when the Bundesliga is going to surprise you, as it did today inside just 36 electrifying minutes of football at the BayArena. Most of that play came from the home side as they scored six goals in the first half. Frankfurt did reply, to make it seven goals in the first half of a Bundesliga game for the first time in the league's history. In terms of the table, Leverkusen are now level with Frankfurt and just two points behind the Eagles in the battle four 4th place. Let the fun continue.
VOLLAND FIRES OVER
Brandt sends a forceful pass into Volland's path so that he can immediately turn past his defender in possession, which he does. The ball gets stuck under his feet slightly, and his shoot loops over the crossbar.
PAULINHO HAS A GO...
The Brazilian is on what feels like a never-ending run towards the Frankfurt box without getting closed down by the away side's defence. He takes a shot at goal from 20 yards, but drags his effort just wide of Trapp's goal.
INTO THE FINAL 10...
Leverkusen have had more chances to score in this second half, especially Havertz, while Frankfurt have barely made Hradecky sweat. With time running out, it still feels like there is a goal or two left in this, but who for if at all?
WELCOME BACK, TIMMY!
The USMNT international makes his return from injury for Frankfurt from the bench. His first appearance of the season following his knee ligament injury.
Danny da Costa
HAVERTZ SHOULD SCORE
More fantastic play from Leverkusen as Brandt finds Alario with his back to goal on the edge of the Frankfurt. His touch plays the ball to Havertz, who has time to compose himself before curling a shot at goal from the edge of the box, but he misjudges and sends the ball over by just a few inches...
HAVERTZ OH SO CLOSE
Alario's outstanding backheel sends Brandt away on the counter. He has Havertz for support with one defender in his way, and finds his partner in crime. Havertz's touch doesn't help him though, as he is caught by the defence before he shoots and the ball deflects behind.
ALMOST A COMICAL GOAL
Volland's chip over the Frankfurt defence finds Aranguiz who is onside. The midfielder brings the ball down with one touch, and loops it up in the air over Trapp with the other, but it's Lars Bender who attempts to head it at goal, only to see Trapp gather on the line. But the flag is up anyway, sparing Bender's blushes.
LEVERKUSEN NOT FINDING THE OPENINGS
As you'd expect, all of the home side's attacking play continues to run through Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz but the pair have found less and less space in this second half. Frankfurt's defence far more stable and we have not had a shot on goal in this second period from either side.
NO GOALS SO FAR...
We appear to have reached the end of paradise here, as we've seen no goals in the opening five minutes of the second half. Frankfurt look a lot more solid now, with Jovic and Rebic leading the line. The atmosphere is still incredible here, which must have given the home side an incredible boost during that incredible first half scoring spell.
SECOND HALF BEGINS...
Who knows what is in store for us in this second half!
THE PERFECT LEVERKUSEN HALF
For the first time since data collection began, in 1992, Leverkusen has gone an entire first half without conceding a foul. They've also enjoyed 11 shots to Frankfurt's two, as well as 78 per cent possession and 60 per cent of the challenges won.
NO WORDS FOR WHAT WE HAVE SEEN
There has never been seven goals in the first half of a Bundesliga match in the league's history. A team has also never scored six goals in a game faster than Bayer Leverkusen have this afternoon. Borussia Dortmund scored six in 36 minutes against Schalke in 1964, with the game ending 6-2. Four different scores for Leverkusen, with Alario adding two for himself and Hinteregger scoring an own-goal. We won't see a half of football like that again for a long, long time.
RECORDS BEING BROKEN
This is the first time Leverkusen have ever scored four goals in the first half of a Bundesliga match.
BRANDT ALMOST MAKES IT SEVEN!
Bender cuts the ball back to Brandt on the edge of the Frankfurt box and his first-time, curling shot dips towards the far top corner, but just goes over Trapp's crossbar.
DOUBLE CHANGE BEFORE THE BREAK
Adi Hütter has seen enough and has made two changes before the break, with Jovic and Gacinovic coming on.
YOU THINK YOU HAVE SEEN IT ALL...
Leverkusen have scored six goals in 36 minutes. Julian Brandt's free-kick curls into the Frankfurt box, and Martin Hinteregger attempts to head it back either to Trapp or behind for a corner, but misses both and finds the back of his own net.
WHAT IS THIS GAME!?
A long ball forward towards Volland and the Munich-born forward battles with Abraham, and beats him to win the ball. He runs into the box from the left flank and spots a wide open Alario at the back post, laying it on a plate for the Argentine to score his second of the game.
Bayer have never scored four goals in the opening 28 minutes of a Bundesliga match. So here we are, witnessing some Bundesliga history.
BEST START TO A GAME OF THE SEASON?
We've seen five goals inside 28 minutes here at the BayArena, with four of them coming for the home side and each of them have been fantastic strikes. If you can find a screen anywhere to watch this game rather than following our coverage, we can understand - because this is unmissable!
WHAT A FINISH!
It's beyond belief what we are seeing here in Leverkusen, so we're going to have to start believing it. Aranguiz collects the ball on the run into the box and beats off the challenge of a Frankfurt defender to move the ball onto his left foot before smashing it high into the net beyond Trapp's reach. A fantastic finish from the Chilean!
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?
Volland's shot across goal is saved by Trapp, but runs loose beyond the far post for Lars Bender to latch on to. It's fantastic decision-making from him, as he dinks the ball up to the near post where Alario is waiting to head home in style. What an incredible start here in Leverkusen!
WENDELL GOES SO CLOSE!
The left-back picks up the ball 25 yards from goal and says "why not?" as he laces a strike towards goal which looks to be destined for the top corner, but curls away at the last second to clip the side-netting on its way past a panicked Trapp.
OFF THE LINE FROM HASEBE!
The goal-line clearance specialist does it again for Frankfurt, but what a goal that would have been. Brandt leaps into the air to flick the ball to Havertz, who immediately gives it him back. He then crosses to the back post and Volland, who meets the ball with a first-time strike which beats Trapp, but is cleared off the line by Hasebe!
AND THAT'S HOW YOU RESPOND!
Kostic immediately breaks up the pitch from the kick-off and is played the ball by Rebic with 20 yards to goal. He shoots low, and the ball deflects off Tah beyond a helpless Hradecky for the perfect response from Frankfurt.
BRANDT MAKES IT TWO!
This amazing Leverkusen start just gets better and better. Aranguiz smashes the ball into the box from the left and it comes to Havertz, whose shot is deflected and falls to Brandt, who is able to tuck the ball home.
THE BATTLE FOR FOURTH!
Incredibly, as it stands, there are just three points between 8th and 4th in the Bundesliga table. This battle for the final UEFA Champions League spot is endless fun for neutral fans.
Kostic does superbly to latch on to a ball forward behind the Leverkusen defence, beating Jedvaj to do so. He looks up to see Rebic in space at the other end of the box, but his ball across is skewed and Hradecky collects it.
FANTASTIC START TO THIS THRILLER
The atmosphere is fantastic in the BayArena in these opening minutes and it has been a great opening on the pitch as well. Volland is in his rhythm, and of course, so is Havertz. But Frankfurt have already had openings in attack as well despite the largely defensive set-up.
HAVERTZ OPENS THE SCORING!
What a touch, what a finish! The 19-year-old is having the season of a lifetime as he collects Volland's ball into the box from the left and controls it, despite it being behind him, before immediately turning and smashing it past Trapp off the inside of the far post.
Frankfurt are the league's fifth highest scorers this season with 58, while Leverkusen are just one behind on 57. Add into the equation that in 67 Bundesliga meetings to date this fixture has NEVER produced a 0-0 draw - the longest such run in Germany's top flight - and it's a recipe for entertainment!
Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic is on the bench for the first time in two months (since 2 March), with head coach Adi Hütter keeping him fresh with a view to the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg against Chelsea this coming week. His is one of a number of changes to the visiting side, with Jetro Willems, Evan Ndicka and Almamy Toure also starting in place of Sebastian Rode, Simon Falette and Mijat Gacinovic, meaning Frankfurt are likely to line-up with a more defensive formation.
Leverkusen captain Lars Bender returns to the starting line-up for the first time in five weeks after a spell on the sidelines due to injury. His last appearances in the first XI was against Hoffenheim on 29 March.
Not only have Die Werkself won four of the last six Bundesliga meetings between these teams, they are also unbeaten at home against Frankfurt in their last four fixtures (3W 1D). However, the Eagles did take all three points earlier this season, goals from Danny Da Costa and Filip Kostic earning them a 2-1 win at home.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SIX-POINTER!
This match will go a long way to deciding who will secure the fourth and final UEFA Champions League qualifying place. Frankfurt are the current incumbents on 54 points, with a win here taking them five clear of Borussia Mönchengladbach in fifth and thereby virtually guaranteeing their participation with just two games left to play. However, if Leverkusen win they would go level on points with Frankfurt, opening up the possibility of a thrilling race for the top four, as Gladbach, Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim would all still have a chance of making it.
Hradecky - L. Bender (c), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell - Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger, Brandt - Havertz, Alario, Volland (SUBS: Özcan, Dragovic, Paulinho, Weiser, Jedvaj, Kohr, Kiese Thelin)
Trapp - Abraham (c), Hinteregger, Ndicka - Hasebe - da Costa, Fernandes, Toure, Kostic - Willems - Rebic (SUBS: Rönnow, Falette, De Guzman, Jovic, Gacinovic, Chandler, Paciencia)
Welcome along to the match centre for the game Leverkusen vs. Frankfurt from matchday 32 of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season at the BayArena. Check back here for full information on the match.