Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo help fire Bayer Leverkusen 10 points clear


Strikes from Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo ensured Bayer Leverkusen defeated 10-man Cologne 2-0 to increase their lead at the top of the table.

Cologne 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1 Frimpong 37' (assist: Schick), 0-2 Grimaldo 73' (assist: Adli)

Bayern Munich's 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Friday opened the door for Leverkusen to further consolidate their place at the summit. However, a clash against local rivals Cologne promised to be a tough task, and it was a close encounter early on. Jonas Hofmann had the game's first real chance, curling narrowly wide from just outside the area, before Dejan Ljubicic headed narrowly past the post at the other end. The hosts, though, were dealt a huge blow shortly before the quarter-hour mark, as Jan Thielmann received a red card following a studs-up challenge on Granit Xhaka. Die Werkself dominated possession from that point forward, but struggled to break down their opponents. Until the 37th minute, that is, when Patrik Schick flicked on Grimaldo's low cross, allowing Frimpong to tap under Marvin Schwäbe. Faride Alidou went close at the other end when he nodded wide, but Leverkusen went into the break with their noses in front.

Shortly after the restart, Cologne were presented with a fantastic opportunity to restore parity. Rasmus Carstensen's cross found Sargis Adamyan unmarked in the middle of the box, but the Armenian could only hit the post with the bottom corner at his mercy. That miss ultimately proved costly as, midway through the second period, Xabi Alonso's men doubled their advantage. Some good work down the left flank from Amine Adli preceded Grimaldo's calm finish through Schwäbe's legs, giving the visitors the breathing space they so craved. That goal knocked the stuffing out of Timo Schultz's side, and it was plain sailing from then on for the away team as they picked up a sixth successive victory in all competitions. While Bayer continue to close in on a maiden Meisterschale, Cologne remain in the relegation play-off spot, six points adrift of guaranteed safety.

Match stats

  • Leverkusen haven't lost in 34 games across all competitions this season. With 30 wins and four draws, it is the best streak of any Bundesliga team ever.
  • All nine of Grimaldo's league goals have come with his left foot - the most of any player in the division.
  • Leverkusen have won each of the 20 games in which they have taken the lead.
  • Thielmann's red card was the 21st in Bundesliga matches between Cologne and Leverkusen, the joint-most in the top flight's history alongside meetings involving HSV and Stuttgart.
  • Cologne have won just one of their previous 11 league games.
  • They have also prevailed in only one of their previous 41 matches against league-leaders.

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Cologne: Schwäbe (c) - Carstensen, Hübers, Chabot, Finkgräfe - Alidou (Tigges 82'), Martel (Schmitz 83'), Ljubicic, Maina (Huseinbašić 83') - Adamyan (Diehl 65', Paqarada 69'), Thielmann
Unused subs: Pentke, Kilian, Heintz, Kainz
Out: Downs (concussion), Selke (foot), Uth (knee), Waldschmidt (broken leg)
Coach: Timo Schultz 

Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Stanišić, Tah, Hincapié (Tapsoba 79')- Frimpong (Tella 46'), Xhaka (Palacios 82'), Andrich, Grimaldo - Hofmann (Adli 65'), Wirtz - Schick (Iglesias 65')
Unused subs: Kovář, Kossounou, Puerta, Hložek
Out: Arthur (thigh), Boniface (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso