WATCH: XABI ALONSO ON HIS HALF-TIME TEAM TALK
There goes the full time whistle! A hard one for Cologne to take. The hosts were a goal up and looked like turning the screw in the second half until the team that are fast becoming known as the counter-attack specialists struck ... twice. Amiri's deflected free kick brought parity before Diaby slotted home the winner. Another huge three points for Xabi Alonso's Bayer.
Cologne blow a chance at the death. A free kick into the mixer and no home player can get a decent touch on it. Leverkusen are heading for victory ....
HATS OFF, FRIMPONG
Frimpong makes way. What a performance it's been from the Dutchman who has played wonderfully in tandem with Diaby down that right hand side.
Yellow cards all 'round as a bit of Rhine Derby fisticuffs breaks out. We've had pretty much everything else so a touch of a scuffle was to be expected.
COLOGNE CROSSBAR !
Well, well, well. What a game this is. Tigges rises to head Schindler's cross and it cannons back off the crossbar.
ALONSO'S WISE WORDS
Incredibly, Leverkusen have scored seven second-half goals in their last two games and none in the first. Is Xabi Alonso the master of the half-time team talk?
Some sustained pressure from Cologne leads to Soldo blasting over the crossbar.
LEVERKUSEN LEAD !
Would you, but would you believe it! Leverkusen have turned this game on its head in astounding circumstances. Cologne were on the attack when the visitors pounced. Diaby and Frimpong stormed away, exchanging passes on the counter. The latter then passed across the face for his teammate who stroked home! Cologne are stunned.
GAME VERY MUCH ON
Intense response to that equaliser from both teams. What a game we have on our hands now. Can either side find a winner? More goals look a certainty at this stage.
AMIRI, DEFLECTION AND IN
Amiri's done it! Straight from the free kick, the substitute's effort takes a wicked deflection off the wall and flies in. The visitors are level!
Amiri is felled on the edge of the Cologne area the Werkself have a chance to fire one in here ...
Leverkusen desperately needed something and Xabi Alonso has opted for a triple change. Adli, Amiri and Kossounou are into the Rhine Derby mix.
Maina has another go from distance and Hradecky is there to pluck that one out of the air. Cologne are on fire here.
HOSTS ON TOP
Skhiri and Soldo both have unsccessful efforts on goal as Cologne look to turn the screw here. Top entertainment.
Jonas Hector has a look up and arcs his body into a shot from distance that has top corner written all over it. Hradecky dives across and, in one for the photographers, gets his fingertip to the ball to send it onto the bar. Insane save. Hradecky then denies Adamyan with a reflex stop moments later.
AWAY WE GO ...
Game back on. So, what kind of response will Leverkusen mount and will Cologne look to protect their lead or go in search of a second? We're about to find out!
There goes the half time whistle. It's been a very entertaining, energetic 45 in this Rhine Derby, with the home fans on their feet after that belter from Schmitz. He'll be showing his grandchildren that goal.
ONE OUT OF TEN
Adamyan tries a Schmitz with a volley and the results are the polar opposite of what the goalscorer produced 15 minutes ago.
Free kick on the Leverkusen right. Hudson Odoi delivers and Tapsoba heads wide by THIS much. (note: not very much at all).
FIRST TIME SCHMITZ
KAINZ HAS A POP
Kainz cracks one in from the left but Hradecky will gobble those up all evening.
HINCAPIE CLOSES THE DOOR
Adamyan battles to reach a through pass with Hincapie not allowing a way through. The defender does brilliantly to close the door fully and Hradecky can gather.
NO GO LEVERKUSEN
Frimpong and Diaby combine down the right and the latter has a shot blocked wide. There was an offside in the build up, however.
If the RheinEnergieStadion was bouncing before, you should hear it now. The roar following Cologne's cracking opener almost took Steffen Baumgart's hat clean off !
Pick this one out! It's a thundershocker from Schmitz! Adamyan lifts a pass back into the mixer from the byline, Schmitz lets it bounce, controls on his chest and wellies a superb volley into the far corner. A Rhine Derby special!
INCREASE IN GEAR
Game's opening up now. Kainz's shot from the cut-back is blocked out for a corner, of which nothing comes.
Diaby this time with a hooked effort from distance that Schwäbe gathers handily enough.
PALACIOS IN THE SKY
Cologne make a mess of clearing from inside their own box and the ball drops to Palacios, who smacks a rising effort not too far over the crossbar. Decent chance.
Adamyan gives to Hector and goes. The Cologne captain bounds down the left touchline and whips a low cross into the box. The visitors clear.
Adamyan chases Huseinbasic's long pass over the top and for a moment it looks like the Cologne forward is in. There's just too much pace on the ball, however, and Leverkusen survive.
TOP STOP HRADECKY
Sargis Adamyan starts a move down the Bayer left and in no time he's finishing it with a stabbed shot high at the target which Hradecky parries over.
FRIMPONG OFF TARGET
Frimpong gets a little over excited as he enters the Cologne area and the 21-year-old wellies way over the top.
Diaby delivers a long and accurate pass across for Hlozek from the right. The Czech forward controls and then loses possession and the hosts clear. Slow-ish start to proceedings here.
Game on in Cologne. The visitors kick off in their all black kits ...
HERE COME THE TEAMS
What an atmosphere we have on derby night ! the RheinEnergieStadion is rocking as the teams take to the field. Big, big game ahead ...
ALL ABOUT YOUTH
A total of 12 of the 22 players starting tonight are no older than 23.
HENNES RULED OUT
Sadly, there's to be no Hennes the Billy-Goat at this evening's game after all. Cologne have informed that their cherished mascot hasn't recovered from a cold and will stay at the zoo. Get well soon, Hennes ! (we know he reads our blogs)
COLOGNE TEAM NEWS
Cologne also feature three changes to their starting line up. Captain Jonas Hector is back in the side having recovered from injury while Denis Huseinbasic returns to play behind another new starter, Sargis Adamyan.
BAYER TEAM NEWS
Lomb, Lunev, Kossounou, Demirbay, Amiri, Adli, Fosu-Mensah, Azhil, Bellarabi
BAYER STARTING XI
Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong, Andrich, Palacios, Bakker - Diaby, Hlozek, Hudson-Odoi
Horn, Pedersen, Schindler, Dida, Tigges, Chabot, Thielmann, Olesen, Strauch
COLOGNE STARTING XI
Schwäbe - Schmitz, Kilian, Soldo, Hector (c) - Skhiri, Martel - Huseinbasic, Maina, Kainz - Adamyan
BAYER'S AWAY BLUES
If they are to take something from this Matchday 14 encounter, Leverkusen will need to up their away-day efforts. Just one win away from the BayArena has the Werkself down in 15th spot in that particular table. Work to do.
COLOGNE SOLID AT HOME
Looking to bounce back from last weekend's 2-0 reverse against Freiburg, Cologne can count on some solid home form to raise confidence ahead of tonight's game. The Billy-Goats have won 11 of their 17 points at the RheinEnergieStadion this season and boast three wins and two draws in their own backyard.
MORE WINS NEEDED
DERBY DAY IS UPON US
Today's Rhine Derby is impossible to predict, with both sides going into this one with varying form. In terms of the teams' last five meetings, Leverkusen lead the way with three wins and just one loss. Cologne, however, triumphed 1-0 last time out when the Rhine giants went head to head in March.