Xabi Alonso conducts Bayer Leverkusen Rhine derby win against Borussia Mönchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen survived a late fightback against Rhine-derby rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach as Xabi Alonso's side chalked up a fourth successive win to continue their impressive rise up the Bundesliga standings.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-3 Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Bakker 21', 0-2 Adli 43' (assist: Hlozek), 0-3 Amiri 67' (assist: Adli), 1-3 Stindl 82' (assist: Wolf), 2-3 Stindl 90'+3 (assist: Itakura)
Ending 2022 on a run of three straight wins with nine goals scored, Leverkusen would have been keen to keep the winter break down to a minimum, such was their pre-Christmas momentum. Rather than looking a little rest rusty, however, Alonso’s slick side soon picked up where they left off. The Rhine derby tilted Bayer’s way shortly after the 20-minute mark and it was the excellent Jeremie Frimpong who instigated the game’s first goal. Having battled his way through on the right, the 22-year-old’s blocked effort fell at the feet of Adam Hlozek whose prodded shot pinged back off the inside of the post. The rebound fell kindly for Mitchel Bakker and the Dutchman slotted home from close range. Frimpong subsequently had a goal ruled out for offside but a second for the Werkself wasn’t long in arriving. A characteristic Leverkusen breakaway saw Amine Adli race clear and with the France U21 international easily holding off Nico Elvedi, the finish for 2-0 was straightforward.
It was hardly the ideal start to the post-Yann Sommer era for the hosts at Borussia-Park but Daniel Farke’s men managed an improvement after the restart. Ramy Bensebaini showed his teammates the way by making a nuisance of himself and winning a corner that brought a flying, one-handed Lukas Hradecky save from Elvedi’s header. With the Foals on the up, Leverkusen broke to devastating effect, crushing home spirits one more time. Bakker playing the ball back for Nadiem Amiri allowed the substitute to play a tidy one-two with Adli before finding the net and all but ending Borussia's hopes. Or so it seemed. When substitute Lars Stindl swept in following a flowing build-up, it looked at best a consolation for Die Fohlen. A stunning second in injury time put the cat among the pigeons, with Bayer relieved to hear the final whistle puncture the noise inside the stadium. When the dust settles, Alonso will take plenty of positives from a game that brought another three points and saw the return of Florian Wirtz from a long-term injury.
- After six shots on goal this season, Adli netted his first of the campaign.
- Alonso oversaw a first-half Leverkusen lead for the first time this term.
- As many as two of Bakker's three career Bundesliga goals have come against Gladbach.
- This was the first time Stindl scored two goals as a substitute in his Bundesliga career.
- Leverkusen have won their last six games against Gladbach.
- Bayer have collected 16 points from eight games under Alonso. They garnered just five points from the first eight games of the season.
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Watch: Bakker: "Happy with my goal"
Gladbach: Omlin - Lainer (Scally 56'), Itakura, Elvedi, Bensebaini - Weigl, Kone (Neuhaus 77') - Hofmann (Herrmann 77'), Kramer (c) (Stindl 56'), Ngoumou (Wolf 56') - Plea
Unused subs: Olschowsky, Friedrich, Netz, Jantschke
Out: Borges Sanches (tendon irritation), Thuram (knee)
Coach: Daniel Farke
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou (Tah 75'), Tapsoba, Hincapie - Frimpong (Sinkgraven 90'+2), Andrich, Palacios, Bakker - Adli (Hudson-Odoi 74') - Diaby (Wirtz 75'), Hlozek (Amiri 64')
Unused subs: Lunev, Lomb, Azmoun, Demirbay, Bellarabi
Out: Aranguiz (calf), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
Watch: Adli talks friendship with Gladbach's Manu Kone and Nathan Ngoumou
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