Moussa Diaby had a hand in three goals, with Jeremie Frimpong scoring two, as Bayer Leverkusen began life under Xabi Alonso with a 4-0 win at home to Schalke.
Alonso was handed the reins at Leverkusen during the week following the dismissal of Gerardo Seoane following 2-0 and 4-0 defeats at Porto and Bayern Munich respectively. Despite only having a couple of training sessions under the new coach, Die Werkself looked reinvigorated and were particularly active down the right through Frimpong and Diaby. Although getting in behind down that side time and time again, chances remained at a premium, with Diaby hitting the side netting the best moment until the Frenchman picked up the ball 30 yards out in the middle, drove at the defence and riffled past Alexander Schwolow from the edge of the box to get the Alonso era up and running. Diaby then turned provider three minutes later after Callum Hudson-Odoi had burst through the middle, laying off to Frimpong to finish across the Schalke goalkeeper. The visitors’ sole chance was a harmless Simon Terodde header late in the half.
The flow of the game remained much the same after the break as Leverkusen dominated. They brought up their third goal of the day when Diaby led a break and slipped in Frimpong with a defence-splitting pass for the defender to turn past Schwolow and bag his brace. There was no sign of the soft underbelly seen so far this season from Die Werkself as they saw out the game in comfortable fashion, restricting Schalke to just two attempts on goal without ever threatening. Substitutes Amine Adli and Paulinho combined to added the icing on the cake with a fourth on the break as the 90th minute approached. A debut victory for Alonso moves Leverkusen out of the bottom three for the first time in three weeks. Schalke have now lost three on the spin and return to the drop zone for the first time since Matchday 4.
- Diaby finally opened his account for the season with his 16th attempt on goal, having netted 13 times in 2021/22.
- Frimpong brought up his third and fourth goals of the campaign, having only previously scored once before in the Bundesliga.
- The goal for 1-0 was the 100th conceded by a Frank Kramer team in the Bundesliga.
- Die Werkself are now unbeaten in their seven meetings with Schalke and historically only have more Bundesliga wins against VfB Stuttgart (39) than Die Knappen (35).
- The Royal Blues remain on an unwanted club record run of 33 Bundesliga away games without a win (D10, L23), now just two short of Karlsruhe’s league record (35 between 1976 and 1981).
- Alonso made his Bundesliga debut as a player and coach against Schalke and is yet to lose against them (W6, D3).
Watch: Xabi Alonso 'happy' after debut win
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie (Kossounou 88’) - Frimpong, Andrich, Aranguiz (Demirbay 64’), Bakker - Diaby (Adli 64’), Schick (Hlozek 72’), Hudson-Odoi (Paulinho 88’)
Unused subs: Lunev, Amiri, Sinkgraven, Fosu-Mensah
Out: Azmoun (muscular), Bellarabi (knee), Palacios (hamstring), Wirtz (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Schalke: Schwolow - Brunner, Greiml, Yoshida (Latza 79’), Mohr (Ouwejan 46’) - Krauß, Flick (Kral 64’) - Polter (Aydin 46’), Drexler (Mollet 64’), Bülter - Terodde (c)
Unused subs: Fährmann, Larsson, Karaman, Matriciani
Out: Kaminski (calf), van den Berg (ankle), Zalazar (metatarsal)
Coach: Frank Kramer
Watch: Lukas Hradecky on Alonso's 'fresh energy'
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