Jeremie Frimpong, Florian Wirtz and Sardar Azmoun keep Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen moving on up at Schalke


Second-half strikes from Jeremie Frimpong, Florian Wirtz - his first goal in over a year - and Sardar Azmoun helped Bayer Leverkusen maintain their hopes of a European finish with a victory that finally burst Schalke's bubble.

Schalke 0-3 Leverkusen
Goals: 0-1
Frimpong 50' (assist: Diaby), 0-2 Wirtz 61' (assit: Adli), 3-0 Azmoun 90'+3 (assist: Diaby)

Both sides went into this game boasting lengthy unbeaten runs. Schalke were aiming for nine in a row without defeat, while Leverkusen had won all five previous games in all competitions. The hosts started the stronger of the teams and had Marius Bülter barrelling down the left before looking to pick out Rodrigo Zalazar. The Royal Blues' No. 10 ultimately failed to make contact, while the warning sparked a Bayer response. Ralf Fährmann has been a monumental presence for the hosts in the Rückrunde and he was called on to make a top double stop, first denying Amine Adli with a low save before preventing Frimpong on the follow-up.

The Werkself were in the relegation zone when Xabi Alonso took up the reins at the club last October. The former Bayern Munich midfielder's first match in charge was against Schalke and it resulted in a resounding win for his new team. With 50 minutes on the clock here, Bayer clicked against the Die Knappen once more, Moussa Diaby turning creator for Frimpong with a low cross to the far post which the 22-year-old converted with ease. Their tails now up, the away side went in search of more and they would double their lead soon afterwards with a peach of a goal. Some slick movement on the edge of the area led to Adli prodding a pass in for Wirtz, who danced through the Schalke defence before poking low past Fährmann for 2-0. Azmoun added a third at the death to ensure that Bayer were rising up to seventh in the standings. Schalke's first defeat since 24 January, meanwhile, keeps Thomas Reis's men sweating in the drop zone.

Match stats

  • Wirtz scored with his first shot on goal in the second half of the season. It was the Germany international's first goal since 12 February 2022.
  • Frimpong and Diaby lead the way at Leverkusen for goal contributions in 2022/23, with both boasting identical records of eight goals and six assists.
  • Bayer were a point above then bottom side Schalke when Alonso took charge on 5 October 2022. The difference now stands at 19 points.
  • Leverkusen are now unbeaten in their last eight meetings with Schalke, winning six.
  • Schalke were the first team in Bundesliga history to be bottom of the table at the end of a Hinrunde but go unbeaten through their first eight Rückrunde matches.

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Schalke: Fährmann - Brunner, Yoshida (c), Greiml, Matriciani - Kral, Krauß (Skarke 71') - Drexler (Balanta 46'), Zalazar (Mohr 82'), Bülter - Frey (Terodde 61')
Unused subs: Schwolow, Kaminski, Aydin, Tauer, Müller
Out: Heekeren (cruciate ligament), Jenz (knee), Karaman (muscular), Kozuki (ankle),  Latza (muscular), Polter (knee), Uronen (adductor), van den Berg (ankle)
Coach: Thomas Reis

Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong (Hudson-Odoi 82'), Palacios (Demirbay 66'), (Sinkgraven 82'), Andrich, Hincapie (Bakker 83') - Diaby, Wirtz, Adli (Azmoun 66')
Unused subs: Pentz, Fosu-Mensah, Mbamba, Bellarabi
Out: Amiri (muscular), Aranguiz (calf), Lunev (back), Schick (groin)
Coach: Xabi Alonso