Matthew Marshall, Waldstadion – Eintracht Frankfurt produced a spectacular comeback to defeat Bayer Leverkusen 5-2 on Sunday evening. Patrik Schick scored twice to silence the home crowd before goals to Tuta and Jesper Lindstrøm restored parity before the break.
Evan Ndicka, Kristijan Jakic and Djibril Sow netted for the Eagles after half time to complete the turnaround. Filip Kostic won’t be credited with any assists, but he was instrumental as Eintracht cruised to the finish line in front of 12,000 supporters.
Schick at the double
Bayer Leverkusen didn’t waste any time in Frankfurt and took the lead in the 5th minute. Moussa Diaby released Florian Wirtz with his backheel eluding three Frankfurt defenders, Robert Andrich finding Schick who spun and shot past Kevin Trapp.
The Werkself extended their lead in the 22nd minute. Amine Adli won a cheap free kick on the right wing, Eintracht appearing to clear the danger before Djibril Sow inadvertently punched the ball.
Referee Marco Fritz pointed to the spot after checking the touchline monitor, Schick stepping up and burying it down the middle.
Eintracht fight back
A minute later Eintracht pulled a goal back. Filip Kostic’s corner took a touch and sat up nicely for Tuta who fired past Lukás Hrádecky.
The goal gave the Eagles and their home support plenty of confidence and seven minutes later they equalised. Jesper Lindstrøm found some space between Edmond Tapsoba and Piero Hincapié, latching onto Djibril Sow’s precision pass and beating Hrádecky.
It was a physical affair with challenges flying in and the game punctuated with frequent free kicks. Eintracht were winning more than their fair share and went into the break with all the momentum.
Oliver Glasner made a change at the break with Jesper Lindstrøm replaced by Jens Petter Hauge.
Eagles fly away
Bayer Leverkusen’s inability to clear danger came back to haunt them five minutes after the restart. The goal came from another Kostic corner, the ball falling to Evan Ndicka who converted from close range.
The Werkself were slipping further away with Charles Aránguiz producing a cheap turnover that led to another fast break. Daichi Kamada raced clear and fed Rafael Borré, the Colombian striker stepping inside Edmond Tapsoba and shooting at Hrádecky who deflected the ball over the bar.
Aránguiz was looking off the pace and was booked for fouling Borré. Kostic hammered the free kick at Hrádecky who tipped it over the bar, Hauge heading wide from the resulting corner.
Diaby fired wide after some nice build up play between Jeremie Frimpong as the game opened up.
Danny da Costa raced clear but was unable to find Kamada. Piero Hincapié was booked for taking down Kostic who continued to drive his team forward.
Hauge’s night ended prematurely in the 63rd minute after picking up an injury. He was replaced by Christopher Lenz.
It’s the Filip Kostic show
Kostic had enjoyed plenty of space down Eintracht’s left wing and in the 66th minute he instigated another goal. His cross was headed away by Hincapié, but only as far as Kristijan Jakic who fired through traffic past Hrádecky.
Gerardo Seoane’s patience with his midfield ran out and he swiftly replaced Robert Andrich and Charles Aránguiz with Exequiel Palacios and Kerem Demirbay.
Eintracht thought they had made it 5-2 when Kamada turned home another Kostic cross, but the Japanese forward had failed to get back from an offside position.
Kostic was showing no signs of letting up with another goal originating from his boot. The Serbian wing-back won a physical battle with Palacios and sent another cross into the danger area, Borré teeing up Djibril Sow who produced a fantastic finish into the top corner.
Jakic headed wide after another fast break with Kostic involved before Ndicka cleared Lucas Alario’s goal bound header off the line. It highlighted the commitment showed by the Eagles after falling 2-0 behind, a tremendous comeback in a match to remember.
Werkself lose the fight
The Bayer Leverkusen supporters that made their way to Frankfurt couldn’t have hoped for a better start. Following on from their 7-1 win against Greuther Fürth and Patrik Schick scoring his sixth goal in 63 minutes, they must have had high hopes of another comfortable victory.
Eintracht Frankfurt had other ideas. From the moment Tuta got the Eagles back in the contest, they raised their aggression and started to fight as a unit.
Robert Andrich summed it up after the match: “From the first goal we conceded it was a disaster. It felt like we didn’t win a single duel. In the end, Frankfurt ate us up completely. That wasn’t a good performance from the entire team today.”