Bayer Leverkusen up to sixth despite gifting Borussia Mönchengladbach a point
Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen will go into the final weekend of 2022/23 in pole position to qualify for Europe, albeit with only a narrow one-point advantage over the chasing pack after surrendering a 2-0 lead to draw with Rhine rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Goals: 1-0 Adli 15', 2-0 Demirbay 20' (assist: Frimpong), 2-1 Hofmann 58', 2-2 Stindl 89' (assist: Thuram)
Sent off: Hincapie 90'+4
With Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt and Mainz dropping points in the race for Europe, Leverkusen set out to take full advantage after the disappointment of their midweek UEFA Europa League semi-final exit at the hands of Roma. Amine Adli set them on their way in the 15th minute, the Frenchman racing clear before slotting a tidy finish through the legs of Jan Olschowsky. Bayer added a second five minutes later, when Kerem Demirbay rose umarked to head home Jeremie Frimpong's right-wing cross. Stefan Lainer and Jonas Hofmann mustered a response of sorts with shots at Lukas Hradecky, but Gladbach needed a big save from Olschowsky to prevent Adli from inflicting further damage on the visitors late in the first half.
Gladbach gave themselves a fighting chance with a goal out of nothing just shy of the hour mark. Mitchel Bakker overhit a dangerous pass across his own area for Hradecky, whose heavy first touch on the stretch allowed Hofmann to slot into the unguarded net, despite the best efforts of the back-tracking Jonathan Tah to clear off the line. Piero Hincapie headed over and Moussa Diaby put one wide in an open conclusion to proceedings, with Marcus Thuram going closer still with a header wide. Gladbach continued to create chances and were rewarded when Nadiem Amiri passed straight to Thuram, who touched the ball off for substitute Lars Stindl to finish from close range. Hincapie saw red in added time, but Bayer held on to stay sixth.
- Leverkusen are guaranteed to finish sixth, if they beat Bochum on Matchday 34.
- Bayer have gone four Bundesliga matches without a win for the first time since Alonso took charge in October 2022.
- With 11 goals and eight assists, Hofmann is enjoying his most prolific season yet.
- Stindl made his 375th Bundesliga appearance, in his final away outing as a Gladbach player before he re-joins Karlsruhe in the summer.
- Frimpong produced his seventh assist of the season.
- Gladbach have won only one of their 17 away Bundesliga games in 2022/23, losing nine and drawing seven.
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Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong, Palacios, Demirbay, Bakker – Wirtz (Amiri 72') – Diaby (Hlozek 84'), Adli (Azmoun 67')
Unused subs: Pentz, Mbamba, Fosu-Mensah, Sinkgraven, Azhil, Hudson-Odoi
Out: Andrich (foot), Bellarabi (thigh), Lunev (back), Kossounou (muscular), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Gladbach: Olschowsky - Itakura, Friedrich, Elvedi – Lainer (Herrmann 86'), Weigl, Kone (Plea 76'), Netz (Ngoumou 86') - Hofmann, Kramer (c) (Stindl 64') – Thuram
Unused subs: Sippel, Jantschke, Scally, Wolf, Neuhaus
Out: Bensebaini (suspended), Omlin (muscular), Sanches (ankle)
Coach: Daniel Farke
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