Thanks Diaby and Amiri

    Bayer Leverkusen can slowly break out of the bottom of the table after an energetic performance in the small Rheinderby at the end of a long, catastrophic first part of the season. With the 2-1 (0-1) win at 1. FC Köln on Wednesday, coach Xabi Alonso’s team achieved their second win within a few days. With another success on Saturday in the last game of the year against VfB Stuttgart, the cushion on the relegation zone could be further expanded.

    Nadiem Amiri with a deflected free kick (65th minute) and Moussa Diaby (71st) turned the game around after an initially disappointing performance. In the end, Benno Schmitz’s first Bundesliga goal (30′) wasn’t enough for Cologne.

    With 15 points now, Leverkusen are up to two points behind FC after 14 games and could overtake their arch-rivals for the first time this season at the weekend. Bayer earned the first away three under Alonso with a significant improvement in performance after the break.

    In the first half only FC had set the tone. The furious 5-0 win over Union Berlin at the weekend initially gave Bayer neither security nor self-confidence. The Werkself allowed themselves to be put too much on the defensive early on and were completely harmless up front. As in the first two away games under Alonso, Bayer was on the way to another frighteningly weak and harmless performance.

    Instead of the guests, who normally focus on ball possession, FC played the game – and he did it with verve. The Cologne team dominated with the typical energy, vehemence and willingness to run. The tour after half an hour was overdue. Schmitz completed a great attack with his volleyball in his 100th competitive game for Cologne.

    After the change, Alonso gave the go-ahead to catch up after a good hour with a triple change. It was only now that Leverkusen were in the game, putting pressure on them and acting offensively, as they were used to. Bayer was lucky with the free kick because Amiri’s attempt was deflected into the goal. Leverkusen then showed their offensive class in the 2-1: After Cologne lost the ball, the hosts quickly went in front of the goal, Frimpong put it on Diaby – and he converted from close range. The Cologne team recovered late and only came back towards the end of the game.

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