Bayer Leverkusen blew away Eintracht Frankfurt 6-1 in a rip-roaring finale to Matchday 32 on Sunday, scoring six times in an astonishing first half to throw the race for fourth place wide open.
Bayer Leverkusen 6-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Goals: 1-0 Havertz (2'), 2-0 Brandt (13'), 2-1 Kostic (14'), 3-1 Alario (23'), 4-1 Aranguiz (28'), 5-1 Alario (34'), 6-1 Hinteregger (o.g. 36')
Kai Havertz set the tone for a first half that beggared belief, sweeping home the opener from the edge of the box in just the second minute. Julian Brandt doubled the lead shortly afterwards, finishing smartly from Charles Aranguiz's cross. Just as it looked like Leverkusen would run away with the game, Filip Kostic pulled a goal back for Frankfurt a minute later, his deflected shot from distance wrong-footing Lukas Hradecky. That failed to knock the hosts off their stride, however, and Lucas Alario soon extended their lead with a close-range header after Kevin Trapp had saved from Kevin Volland.
There was plenty more still to come as both teams remained committed to attack. Aranguiz got his name on the scoresheet with a superb run and finish before Volland teed up Alario for an easy tap-in. Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter brought on Luka Jovic and Mijat Gacinovic in a bid to give his side more energy in the final third, but it was Leverkusen who scored again when Martin Hinteregger inadvertently headed Brandt's cross into his own net, giving Peter Bosz's charges a 6-1 lead at the interval.
Perhaps inevitably, the pace of the game dropped off in the second half as Frankfurt went into damage limitation mode. Leverkusen still had opportunities to add to the scoreline though, with Havertz twice testing Trapp on his weaker right foot, before curling a left-footed strike over the bar from the edge of the box. There were to be no further goals but the damage was already done, with Leverkusen moving level on points with Frankfurt to keep themselves in contention for a top-four finish.
- Havertz opened the scoring with the first shot of the game. He now has 15 goals this season.
- For the first time since data collection began in 1992, Leverkusen did not commit a single foul in the first half.
- Frankfurt conceded twice in the first 15 minutes here; they had only let in one goal in the first quarter of an hour all season prior to this game.
- Kostic scored his sixth Bundesliga goal of 2018/19, a new single-season personal best.
- This was the first time in Bundesliga history that Leverkusen scored four goals and Frankfurt conceded six before half-time.
- This was also the first time in Bundesliga history that seven goals have been scored in a first half.
Leverkusen: Hradecky - L. Bender (c) (Weiser 67'), Tah, S. Bender (Dragovic 60'), Wendell - Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger, Brandt - Havertz, Alario (Paulinho 83'), Volland
Unused subs: Özcan, Jedvaj, Kohr, Kiese Thelin
Out: Bailey (thigh), Bellarabi (thigh), Pohjanpalo (ankle)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Frankfurt: Trapp - Abraham (c), Hinteregger, Ndicka (Jovic 37') - Hasebe - da Costa (Chandler 74'), Fernandes, Toure, Kostic - Willems (Gacinovic 37') - Rebic
Unused subs: Rönnow, Falette, De Guzman, Paciencia
Out: Haller (abdominal strain), Tawatha (ankle), Stendera (back)
Coach: Adi Hütter