Frankfurt - Bayer 04 Leverkusen strengthened their grasp on fourth place, and qualification for the UEFA Champions League, with a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Bayer break Frankfurt down
Gonzalo Castro and Emre Can scored the goals for Sascha Lewandowski's men, ensuring they will go into the final game with their destiny in their own hands. Frankfurt, whose fans bid farewell to departing coach Armin Veh prior to kick-off, lethargically accepted defeat with their place in the top flight next season already secured a week ago.
After an initial period sparring, the game sparked into life with Leverkusen asserting their authority over their hosts with a series of counterattacks. Indeed, that appeared to be the approach they had chosen for this game, and it helped them take the lead in the 27th minute when Eren Derdiyok, deputising for the injured Stefan Kießling, laid the ball on a plate for Castro.
The winger tucked the ball in from a central position to score in consecutive Bundesliga games for the first time in his career after finding the target against Borussia Dortmund last weekend. It came less than 60 seconds after Leverkusen had wasted another promising break with the final ball from Can failing to find its designated recipient.
Can makes it two
Frankfurt mustered a reaction of sorts with Sebastian Jung's cross headed wide by Martin Lanig, but it was the visitors who really looked in charge, and that was soon reflected in the scoreline. Julian Brandt's shot was helped on its way by Can, and while the post initially came to goalkeeper Kevin Trapp's rescue, the ball bounced out kindly for the former FC Bayern full-back to score with his second attempt.
Another swift break from Leverkusen saw Brandt get beyond the hosts' backline, although there were no takers for his cut-back. Leverkusen showed no signs of wanting to ease off in the second half, with Heung-Min Son pulling the ball back to Sebastian Boenisch, whose shot was blocked before Derdiyok fired over.
No let-up from Leverkusen
Substitute Simon Rolfes headed over as Leverkusen continued to pour forward at the Commerzbank Arena, sustaining a steady amount of pressure on the Frankfurt goal. Only when the game started to head down the final straight did Lewandowski's men slowly start to retreat.
Yet even though Frankfurt did not raise their own game, the home support were still in celebratory mood and spent the final 20 minutes congratulating their heroes on a second successful season in the top flight.
Line-ups and statistics
Check out the Top 5 Saves from Matchday 33, including a fine piece of skill by Leverkusen keeper Leno, courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: