Three things we learned as Bayer Leverkusen cruised past Eintracht Frankfurt to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga

Bayer Leverkusen overcame Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 at the BayArena to ensure that they will be top of the Bundesliga table at Christmas. After a cagey opening ten minutes, Frankfurt were threatening to surprise the league leaders in a similar manner to how they shocked Bayern Munich on matchday 14. Nevertheless, Die Werkself quickly proved why they are running away at the top of the table when Victor Boniface calmly placed the hosts in the lead on the quarter-hour mark.

It was a goal that saw the hosts head into the break with a narrow lead, but after the interval, they would quickly put the game beyond Frankfurt’s reach. Goals from Jeremie Frimpong and Florian Wirtz put the Werkself in a commanding lead that never appeared to be under threat. While Frankfurt will need to learn from their mistakes and find some consistency after their victory against Bayern, Leverkusen’s three points will see them head into the winter break at the top of the Bundesliga table, regardless of the results from matchday 16.

Important January ahead for Alonso

Bayer Leverkusen has been in phenomenal form this season. Die Werkself are unbeaten in all competitions, and they are starting to make a claim of being the best club side in Europe. However, with the African Cup of Nations approaching, could issues start to unfold for Xabi Alonso’s side?

Victor Boniface, Edmond Tapsoba, and Odilon Kossounou have been crucial in establishing Leverkusen at the Bundesliga’s summit this campaign. With 23 goal contributions in 22 appearances, Boniface has been a revelation up front for the Werkself since arriving in the summer, and while Patrik Schick has returned to the side, there is no guarantee that with his injury record, he will remain fit. As for Tapsoba and Kossounou, they have been instrumental in seeing Leverkusen boast the best defensive record in the Bundesliga.

As well as this, Amine Adli and Nathan Tella are both set to depart, leaving Alonso’s side short on numbers. As seen against Frankfurt, Leverkusen’s squad is riddled with quality, but they cannot rely on Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong to win games in the absence of others. With a number of key players departing, they may need to find reinforcements in the winter to ensure they can claim their first Bundesliga title.

Frankfurt’s inconsistency will cost them

At the beginning of the campaign, it was quite clear that this season would be one of transition for Eintracht Frankfurt. With a young head coach in Dino Toppmöller, Die Adler had found their new leader, but ensuring that his overhauled squad would adapt to his style of play was always going to take time.

Despite this, Frankfurt have been one of the best defensive sides in the Bundesliga, with only Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen boasting a better record prior to kick-off. However, keeping their defensive record intact while scoring on a regular basis has been Toppmöller’s biggest problem this season.

Nevertheless, after their 5-1 demolition of Bayern on matchday 14, the issues plaguing this side seemed to have been solved. Regardless, away at Leverkusen, it was clear to see that Frankfurt’s issues are not a thing of the past. Unable to cope with the Werkself’s scintillating attack, Toppmöller’s side also struggled to make the most of fleeting expeditions forward. While there is quality in this side, they are not yet ready to challenge for a top-six spot.

Exequiel Palacios is Leverkusen’s unsung hero

As previously reported here at Get German Football News, Exequiel Palacios has been Leverkusen’s unsung hero this season. The Argentinian has been irreplaceable for Alonso in the centre of midfield, leaving the Spaniard no choice but to keep Robert Andrich on the bench.

Once again, against Frankfurt, Palacios was quietly the main man for the Werkself. With a 92% pass accuracy, the 25-year-old was controlling the midfield third, dictating every Leverkusen attack. This was no more the case than for Die Werkself’s second goal, after the Argentinian’s remarkable run eventually led to Frimpong tapping in from close range. However, for all his work in the attacking third, he was also consistently breaking up any Frankfurt voyage forward.

With a total of eight defensive actions, eight recoveries, and a 100% success rate from four tackles attempted, Palacios was almost single-handedly frustrating Die Adler. While the front three will come away with the majority of the headlines, Palacios displayed yet again why he is pivotal to this side.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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