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FEATURE | Kai Havertz continues to break records as Bayer Leverkusen’s fast start stuns Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt – BayArena – Matthew Marshall

Bayer Leverkusen continued their winning run at the BayArena with a confident 4-0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. Kai Havertz opened the scoring in the 4th minute before Paulinho’s cross was turned home by Karim Bellarabi 10 minutes later.

It was a day to remember for Paulinho, the young Brazilian marking his first Bundesliga start with two goals shortly after half-time that ended the contest. Frankfurt’s defence continue to struggle away from home, particularly at the BayArena where they have now lost their last five matches and conceded 20 goals.

Fast start stuns Frankfurt

Eintracht Frankfurt created the first opportunity of the match, Filip Kostic’s cross finding Daichi Kamada who forced a save from Lukas Hradecky. Eintracht supporters had arrived in numbers, but their optimism was squashed minutes later, Moussa Diaby racing onto Wendell’s through ball and finding Kai Havertz who finished from close range.

In the 14th minute it was 2-0 with Paulinho playing a leading role. A clever 1-2 with fellow Brazilian Wendell saw the 19-year-old stroll through some feeble defence, his cross turned home by Karim Bellarabi with another blowout win looking likely.

Second half sucker punch

The second half started with Havertz finishing off a slick move instigated by Edmond Tapsoba but Diaby was offside in the build-up. A minute later Paulinho exchanged passes with Bellarabi before beating Evan N’Dicka with ease and firing past Kevin Trapp to make it 3-0.

Frankfurt had a chance to pull one back when a free kick found Martin Hinteregger, his initial shot was saved and follow up effort went wide. The Eagles went down for the count in the 55th minute when Havertz sent Paulinho through some Swiss cheese defence, the Brazilian making no mistake with clever finish from a tight angle.

Paulinho steals the show

Paulinho has found playing time hard to come by since his €18.5m move from Vasco da Gama in July 2018. The youngster played an important role in Brazil’s recent Olympic Games qualification campaign, scoring three goals and providing four assists and he that confidence continued against Frankfurt.

Paulinho became the first Bayer Leverkusen player to score two goals on his first Bundesliga start, playing in a striker position but often drifting wide to interchange with Leverkusen’s fluent attack. “It was a very important day for me, I have waited a long time and have always been prepared and ready for it. Today I was able to show that I can help the team, I am here for them and I hope that we can maintain this consistency both for me personally and the whole team.”

Paulinho’s man of the match performance gives Peter Bosz another attacking option which will come in handy due to the absence of Kevin Volland who is out for the rest of the season.

Havertz breaks more records

Kai Havertz keeps breaking records, his opening goal against Eintracht meaning at 20 years and 270 days old he replaced Klaus Fischer as the youngest player to reach 30 Bundesliga goals. Havertz may have had a slow start to the season but he is flying in 2020.

The playmaker has been in fabulous form with four goals and five assists in Leverkusen’s last seven matches. His ability to exploit space, vision and technical ability are all at an extremely high level for someone so young. He is flourishing under Peter Bosz who gave him an early shower to prepare for taking on Rangers at Ibrox in the Europa League.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to say anything innovative and fresh about Havertz after praising him for so long. Fortunately, Leon Bailey was available after in the mixed zone to offer his perspective: “Kai is a phenomenal player. He is very smart and knows what he needs to do in every situation. He is a very important player for the team and we can help him move forward and be greater than he is.”

Leverkusen’s lethal attack

Bayer Leverkusen’s formation resembled a 4-2-4 for much of the match with Moussa Diaby, Karim Bellarabi, Paulinho and Kai Havertz continually harassing Frankfurt’s defence. There was movement and interchanging in abundance that confused their opponents and kept Frankfurt firmly on the back foot.

The Werkself are in fabulous form. The 2-1 win at Bayern Munich, 4-3 home win against Borussia Dortmund and 1-1 draw at Leipzig show they can match it with the Bundesliga big guns and confidence is at an all-time high under Peter Bosz.

Get German Football News asked Leon Bailey about Leverkusen’s recent run that includes eight wins and a draw from their previous nine games: “We are there for each other, we have good chemistry, we are playing good football and winning games which gives us a lot of confidence.

Even though the players have been playing a lot of games, winning games makes the players more relaxed in their minds. Once your mind is more relaxed, you don’t think about being tired and I think this is what’s happening. I hope we can keep this up.

We have a lot of games and it’s important that we always bring a fresh team out. Rotation is best for the team, the coach knows exactly what he is doing, we all believe in his ideas and we are carrying out whatever role he asks us to do on game day. Everybody knows that they have a role to play.”

Feeble Frankfurt

Eintracht Frankfurt were crushed 6-1 in this fixture last season, but there were excuses that day including injuries to key players and the match coming between a Europa League semi-final tie against Chelsea. There were no excuses here with both clubs involved in three competitions and Eintracht largely injury free.

Adi Hütter’s side were simply outplayed, there was little to no creativity from central midfield and Filip Kostic was unable to exploit a favourable match up against Mitchell Weiser. The sloppy defence we saw in the recent 2-1 home defeat to Union Berlin was back on show in Leverkusen.

Hütter was understandably annoyed and frustrated after the match: “Leverkusen were more aggressive, had more bite and were technically better. There’s no shame in losing in Leverkusen, but not like that.”

Sebastian Rode was unable to influence the match but he was far from alone in that respect. He offered a realistic explanation for the defeat: “We conceded easy goals and opened ourselves up to be hit on the counter a few times. That shouldn’t be happening.

Leverkusen clearly have a good team, but it’s mainly our own fault. After the break we made basic errors in our build-up play – it was similar to what happened to us in Dortmund.”

Progression in the DFB-Pokal and Europa League might be clouding their position in the Bundesliga where three straight defeats sees the Eagles dangerously close to the relegation zone an next to no chance of qualifying for Europe next season.

Eintracht have the worst away record in the Bundesliga that was acknowledged by Hütter after the match: “Our away record this season is terrible, there’s no other way of saying it. I’ve got the impression that we’re more active when we play at home.

I’m not worried yet, but we have to recognise the reality of the table. Obviously it’s not easy to play in three competitions, but we’re in dangerous territory now.”

 

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