PLAYER RATINGS | 1.FC Köln 0-2 Bayer Leverkusen – Leverkusen’s wing-backs shine once again

After Bayern Munich were held at Freiburg on Friday evening, Bayer Leverkusen took advantage and extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points with a win in the ‘kleiner’ Rhein Derby. 

With a handful of changes in defence and attack, Leverkusen kept the core of their team from last weekend’s 2-1 win against Mainz. 

The first half was eventful, to say the least, when within 13 minutes 1.FC Köln were already down to 10 when Jan Thielmann was sent off for a challenge on Granit Xhaka. Köln were set to be pegged back in this game and going down to 10 men made it even worse. 

Leverkusen continued to pile on the pressure before they were rewarded when Jeremie Frimpong connected with a deflected Alejandro Grimaldo cross to give Die Werkself the lead. 

In the second half, Leverkusen continued to dominate with very little impact from Köln. Then in the 73rd minute, Grimaldo doubles Leverkusen’s lead. 

With this win, Leverkusen move 10 points clear of Bayern with 10 games of the Bundesliga season remaining. It is almost certain that Bayern’s 11-year stranglehold on the Bundesliga is finally ending after a close call last season.

As things stand, Leverkusen could secure the title at home against this season’s other surprise package VfB Stuttgart on matchday 31. 

While for Köln they remain eight points away from safety and face a tough challenge in the real Rhein Derby next weekend away at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

1.FC Köln Ratings:

Marvin Schwäbe (6), Rasmus Carstensen (5), Tim Hübers (5), Julian Chabot (5), Max Finkgrafe (5), Faride Alidou (5), Eric Martel (5), Dejan Ljubicic (5), Linton Maina (5), Sargis Adamyan (5), Jan Thielmann (3) 

Others: Justin Diehl (-), Leart Paqarada (5), Steffen Tigges (-), Denis Huseinbasic (-), Benno Schmitz (-)

Bayer Leverkusen Ratings:

Lukas Hradecky (6), Josip Stanisic (6), Jonathan Tah (6), Piero Hincapié (6), Jeremie Frimpong (6), Robert Andrich (6), Granit Xhaka (7), Alejandro Grimaldo (7), Jonas Hofmann (6), Florian Wirtz (7), Patrik Schick (6)

Others: Nathan Tella (5), Amine Adli (6), Borja Iglesias (5), Edmond Tapsoba (-), Exequiel Palacios (-)

GGFN | Jack Meenan

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