Leverkusen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen started off the New Year in impressive fashion at the Bay-Arena, easing to a 3-1 home win over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Goals from Sebastian Boenisch, top scorer Stefan Kießling and Andre Schürrle put the home side 3-0 up, before Alexander Meier struck a consolation effort for Frankfurt.
Both sides went into the game in the back of excellent first halves to the season and the opening quarter of the game was a keenly contested affair. The league’s top scorer Kießling might have scored inside the opening minute but was thwarted by the sprawling Kevin Trapp in the Eagles' goal, while Takashi Inui and Pirmin Schwegler shot off target at the other end.
Armin Veh’s Frankfurt side had looked solid in the opening half-hour but in the space of two minutes their gameplan was blown apart by two quick Leverkusen goals. First Sebastian Boenisch slammed home his first Bayer goal after Eintracht failed to clear a corner and then a clever pass from Andre Schürrle released Gonzalo Castro, who raced through before squaring to Kießling to tap home for 2-0.
At arm’s length
With a comfortable lead, the home side had their opponents exactly where they wanted them. Frankfurt were forced to take more risks in attack and that offered Leverkusen the opportunity to counter. Hitting teams on the break has been a particular strength of theirs under Sami Hyypiä and the tactic bore fruit once again just short of the hour-mark as Kießling turned provider for Schürrle to strike a brilliant effort from an awkward angle.
Even at 3-0 down, Eintracht continued to compete and managed to pull a goal back through Alexander Meier’s classy curling strike, his twelfth Bundesliga goal of the season. The deficit was too much for them to overhaul, though, and with a cuter pass, Bayer might even have added a fourth. As it was, as a 3-1 victory was more than satisfying for die Werkself, who remain in second behind Bayern, while Frankfurt stay in fourth.
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