Jeremie Frimpong stars as Bayer Leverkusen complete comeback to down Werder Bremen
Jeremie Frimpong had a hand in two goals as Bayer Leverkusen boosted their top-six hopes with a comeback win at Werder Bremen.
Werder Bremen 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Ducksch 30' (assist: Füllkrug), 1-1 Bakker 34' (assist: Frimpong), 1-2 Frimpong 56' (assist: Palacios), 1-3 Hlozek 83', 2-3 Füllkrug 86'
The weekend's earlier results offered both teams the opportunity to close the gap to the European spots. A cagey opening ensued, however, as both sides struggled to stamp their authority. The first opening fell to Amine Adlie, who fired into the side netting from close range, before Marvin Ducksch missed the target from outside the area when in more space than he seemingly knew. That effort, though, sparked both the striker and the game into life as, shortly after, Ducksch gave Bremen the lead around the half-hour mark. Niclas Füllkrug was the architect, controlling the ball well in the box before laying a pass on for his strike partner to bury into the roof of the net. Leverkusen responded quickly, equalising after Adam Hlozek had wasted a gilt-edged opportunity. A quick break found its way to Frimpong, whose cross into the penalty area was totally missed by Moussa Diaby before Mitchel Bakker dispatched a fierce volley into the top corner to send both teams into the interval on level terms.
Jens Stage mishit a fantastic chance to restore his side's lead, before Bakker had a shot easily saved from distance by Jiri Pavlenka. There was nothing the Czech Republic international could do when Leverkusen moved in front, however, with Frimpong's left-footed effort taking a wicked deflection off Niklas Stark. At the other end, Pavlenka's Werkself counterpart Lukas Hradecky was tested by Anthony Jung and Ducksch within the space of minutes before making a stunning stop low down to his right to keep out Bremen's top goalscorer Füllkrug. As full-time approached, Adam Hlozek appeared to have settled the outcome of the clash when he nodded a diverted cross into the corner, but Bremen reduced the deficit almost immediately, Füllkrug bagging a penalty after Piero Hincapie had been penalised for handling in the area. Although Bremen desperately searched for an equaliser, Leverkusen held on to pick up a third consecutive victory in all competitions. They sit ninth, four points and two places above Bremen, who have lost eight of their previous 11 league fixtures.
- With six goals and seven assists, Frimpong has been involved in more Bundesliga strikes than any of his teammates this campaign.
- Leverkusen have now lost just one of their last 12 matches against Bremen, and none of their previous five at Weserstadion.
- Xabi Alonso's men have scored 26 second-half goals in the German top flight this season - a league-high.
- Ducksch has now scored six Bundesliga goals this term - three times as many as he managed in his previous three seasons in the division (one strike apiece for Fortuna Düsseldorf and Paderborn).
- Bremen have not drawn any of their last 17 Bundesliga matches, having last shared the spoils in a 1-1 against today's opponents on Matchday seven.
- Füllkrug's spot-kick was his 15th Bundesliga goal of the season - a career record.
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Bremen: Pavlenka - Pieper, Stark, Veljkovic - Weiser, Schmidt, Gruev (Dinkci 77'), Stage (Philipp 69'), Jung (Buchanan 84') - Füllkrug (c), Ducksch
Unused subs: Zetterer, Dietrich, Chiarodia, Salifou, Berger
Out: Agu (patella tendon), Dos Santos Haesler (illness), Friedl (illness), Groß (illness), Mbom (calf), Schmid (illness)
Coach: Ole Werner
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong (Tapsoba 62'), Andrich, Palacios, Bakker - Diaby (Amiri 74'), Hlozek (Azmoun 88'), Adli (Sinkgraven 88')
Unused subs: Pentz, Lomb, Fosu-Mensah, Demirbay, Mbamba
Out: Aranguiz (calf), Bellarabi (knock), Lunev (back), Schick (knock), Wirtz (rested)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
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