Matthew Marshall, BayArena – Bayer Leverkusen cruised to comfortable 2-0 victory against an understrength Eintracht Frankfurt at the BayArena. Moussa Diaby assisted Paulinho for the opening goal in the 18th minute with the Eagles unable to test Lukás Hrádecky.
The contest was effectively over in the 51st minute when Diaby found Patrik Schick in close range. The Czech striker beat the offside trap and then Kevin Trapp, the victory taking the Werkself three points clear of Freiburg with two games remaining, a top four spot Champions League football in their hands.
The pattern of the match was established early when Sardar Azmoun released Moussa Diaby, his heavy touch preventing him from finding an unmarked Patrik Schick.
Azmoun had a positive start and played his part in the opening goal. Hs headed the ball to Schick who sent Diaby through, this time delivering a pinpoint cross to Paulinho, the Brazilian squeezing the ball through Kevin Trapp’s legs.
The fast breaks kept coming with Schick unable to find Paulinho who had raced clear. Eintracht were producing nothing more than hopeful punts up field in search of Ragnar Ache or Gonçalo Paciência.
The combination play between Bayer Leverkusen’s front four kept coming, Azmoun sending Schick through on goal where he scored from an offside position.
It should have been 2-0 before the break with the Werkself unable to capitalise on another fast break. Capitalising on Makoto Hasebe’s turnover, Azmoun broke clear and released Robert Andrich who couldn’t find the target.
Jens Petter Hauge’s effort before half time summed up Eintracht’s efforts, his shot always sailing wide with Hrádecky a mere spectator.
Oliver Glasner wasted no time making changes with a triple substitution at the break with Almamy Toure, Ansgar Knauff and Sam Lammers replacing Tuta, Filip Kostic and Hauge.
In the 51st minute the contest was as good as over with Diaby the instigator once again. His clever pass picked out Schick who beat Trapp from close range, the striker initially ruled offside before the decision was reversed after a VAR intervention.
Azmoun forced a save from Trapp in the 71st minute as the game slowed to a walking pace.
Ajdin Hrustic tried his luck from distance, but it was a game to forget for Eintracht who were happy to hear the full-time whistle. The Eagles can now turn their attention to a match that matters, the Europa League semi-final second leg against West Ham on Thursday.