bundesliga

Davie Selke double as Cologne win Rhine derby against Bayer Leverkusen

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Davie Selke struck twice in the first half as Cologne inflicted a 2-1 Rhine derby defeat on Bayer Leverkusen, edging closer to safety as a result and damaging their neighbours' top-six hopes in the process.

Leverkusen 1-2 Cologne
Goals: 0-1 Selke 14' (assist: Kainz), 1-1 Adli 28' (assist: Diaby), 1-2 Selke 36' (assist Thielmann)

Unbeaten in 14 competitive matches at kick-off, Leverkusen enjoyed the better start and were very much on top when Cologne took a surprise lead as Selke ghosted into space behind Jonathan Tah to guide Florian Kainz's cross into the net. Unfazed, Xabi Alonso's side continued to go on the front foot and equalised just before the half-hour mark when Amine Adli swept in Moussa Diaby's pass to complete a lightning-fast counter-attack. Parity did not last long, however, as Selke doubled his tally after getting ahead of Edmond Tapsoba to covert another right-wing cross, this time from Jan Thielmann.

Leverkusen struggled to break down their visitors in the second half and in fact it was the Billy Goats who had the clearest chance when Jonas Hector smashed a half-volley at goal that Lukas Hradecky did well to keep out. It took until the 68th minute for Die Werkself to produce a serious opening when Florian Wirtz played Diaby into space, but his shot from a tight angle was cleared for a corner. A spate of substitutions and tactical fouls interrupted the flow of the game thereafter, with Cologne forced deep in the closing stages as Leverkusen desperately sought an equaliser: the introduction of a striker in Sardar Azmoun for a centre-back in Jonathan Tah giving an indication of their eagerness to salvage something. Ultimately, however, they could not find a way through as Cologne held on for three points that should be enough to keep them in the top flight for another year.

Match stats

  • Selke's first goal was the 2,000th that Leverkusen have conceded in the Bundesliga.
  • A league-high four of Kainz's eight assists this season have come from crosses.
  • Selke hit his first Bundesliga brace in five years: his last one came for Hertha Berlin against Cologne on 14 April 2018.
  • Adli now has four Bundesliga goals this term, one more than he managed in the entire last season.
  • Nadiem Amiri made his 200th Bundesliga appearance, while Tah played his 300th game in all competitions for Leverkusen.
  • Wirtz, who spent 10 years in the various youth teams of Cologne before joining Leverkusen in January 2020, has contributed seven goals (one of his own, plus six assists) in 14 Bundesliga games since returning from injury on Matchday 16. His overall record is 14 goals and 22 assists in 74 Bundesliga appearances.

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Watch: Xabi Alonso: "The defeat will be useful"

Teams

Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tapsoba, Tah (Azmoun 81'), Hincapie - Frimpong, Andrich, Amiri (Hlozek 57'), Bakker (Palacios 57') - Diaby, Adli (Bellarabi 89'), Wirtz
Unused subs: Pentz, Kossounou, Sinkgraven, Fosu-Mensah, Demirbay
Out: Lunev (back), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso

Cologne: Schwäbe - Schmitz, Hübers, Chabot, Hector (c) - Skhiri, Ljubicic (Huseinbasic 85') - Thielmann (Olesen 65'), Maina (Adamyan 86'), Kainz (Schindler 65') - Selke (Tigges 71')
Unused subs: Horn, Pedersen, Kilian, Limnios
Out: Dietz (cruciate ligament), Martel (suspended), Uth (pelvis)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart