Greuther Fürth relegated after Patrik Schick and Sardar Azmoun give Bayer Leverkusen win


Patrik Schick and Sardar Azmoun both scored as Bayer Leverkusen moved up to third with victory at Greuther Fürth, whose relegation back to Bundesliga 2 was confirmed.

Greuther Fürth 1-4 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Willems 5’ (assist: Ngankam), 1-1 Schick 8’, 1-2 Azmoun 18’, 1-3 Paulinho 58’ (assist: Azmoun), 1-4 Palacios 84' (assist: Aranguiz)

Fürth came into Matchday 31 knowing they had to win to at least keep their survival hopes alive for another week. And the hosts started with the sort of intent they needed. Jessic Ngankam raced down the right and forced a save out of Lukas Hradecky. But the ball fell back to the Greuther man, who put it across goal for Jetro Willems to drive between Hradecky’s legs. However, the lead lasted just three minutes as Schick reacted quickest to flick home a corner. The flag originally went up for offside but a VAR review confirmed the ball had come off a Fürth man and the goal was given. Leverkusen were ahead on 18 minutes, again taking advantage of a defensive mistake. This time Azmoun closed down goalkeeper Andreas Linde to earn a simple tap-in for his maiden Bundesliga goal. Schick had a chance to extend the advantage but Linde made amends with a strong hand at his near post.

Die Werkself continued to dictate play after the restart. Paulinho thought he’d made it 3-1 when he tapped in Moussa Diaby’s square ball, but the Frenchman was flagged offside. The Brazilian did have his goal not long after, though, when Azmoun flicked over the defence and Paulinho knocked the ball past Linde at the second attempt. Substitute Exequiel Palacios rounded things off with a tidy finish from 20 yards. Victory for Leverkusen - combined with RB Leipzig's defeat at home to Union Berlin - moves them up to third, but only a point above Die Roten Bullen in fourth and three ahead of Freiburg in fifth. Defeat means Fürth can no longer climb out of the bottom two, as they find themselves 11 points adrift of 16th place with three games to go. The Clover Leaves’ Bundesliga luck has run out, with their second top-flight stay again ending after just one season. All that’s left for them to play for is an improvement on their 21-point haul from 2012/13.

Match stats

  • Schick brought up his 21st goal of the Bundesliga campaign, equalling Dimitar Berbatov’s club record for a non-German in a single season (also 21 in 2005/06).
  • Azmoun became the first Iranian to score in the Bundesliga since Ashkan Dejagah in March 2012.
  • Leverkusen brought up their 70th goal of the season, reaching that total for only the fourth time in a Bundesliga campaign and for the first time since 2003/04.
  • Bayer have scored 11 goals against Fürth this season. They’ve only previously scored double figures against Gladbach (12 in 1998/99) and Ulm (13 in 1999/2000).
  • Willems and Palacios also got their first Bundesliga goals.
  • The former's ended Fürth’s 450-minute scoring drought in the league.

Watch: Branimir Hrgota on 'painful' relegation


Fürth: Linde - Griesbeck, Viergever, Itter - Asta, Raschl, Tillman (Dudziak 83’), Willems (Jung 70’) - Ngankam (Abiama 83’), Green - Hrgota (c)
Unused subs: Funk, Burchert, Fobassam, Barry
Out: Bauer (suspended), Christiansen (thigh), Kehr (knee), Leweling (not included), Meyerhöfer (ankle), Nielsen (thigh), Pululu (suspended), Seguin (calf)
Coach: Stefan Leitl

Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba, Bakker - Diaby (Baumgartlinger 83’), Demirbay, Aranguiz, Paulinho - Azmoun (Sinkgraven 73’), Schick (Alario 83’)
Unused subs: Grill, Lunev, Palacios, Fofana
Out: Adli (Achilles), Andrich (suspended), Bellarabi (thigh), Fosu-Mensah (thigh), Frimpong (ankle), Hincapie (suspended), Wirtz (knee)
Coach: Gerardo Seoane