The gala against the leader is followed by a work victory in the derby: just three days after the great success against Union Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen won a happy 2-1 (0-1) in the Rhenish duel at 1. FC Köln. For the first time under coach Xabi Alonso, Bayer celebrated two Bundesliga wins in a row and moved a little away from the relegation zone on matchday 14.
Ironically, right-back Benno Schmitz (30th) gave Cologne the lead with a dream goal, it was his first professional goal in the 100th competitive game for FC. Nadiem Amiri (65′) and Moussa Diaby (71′) turned the game around. Bayer is now four points ahead of the relegation zone with 15 points, FC (17) is only just ahead.
Only on Sunday did Alonso’s team celebrate a liberating 5-0 win over Union, knocking the Berliners off the top of the table. In Cologne, however, the team seemed inhibited and undecided for a long time, Cologne was overwhelmingly superior until the equalizer.
The Cologne team got along better right from the start, won most of the tackles and had the first and only good chance of the early stages: Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky had to save against Sargis Adamyan after a strong combination (8′).
During this phase, Bayer occasionally overplayed the Cologne pressing, but as so often this season, they did not use their technical superiority: the last pass was sloppy at the latest. Bayer are still missing pacemaker Florian Wirtz, the former youth player of FC, who was seriously injured in the Cologne derby victory last season.
Nevertheless, Leverkusen soon got a few shots and seemed to be working their way into this game – when Schmitz managed his unlikely feat: he volleyed into the corner from about 20 meters. The stadium trembled, and until the break a picture that is still unusual for this Rhenish duel solidified: Cologne dictated, Bayer reacted.
After the restart, the pressure initially even increased. Captain Jonas Hector, back in the starting XI after an injury, almost scored the next dream goal, Hradecky just managed to deflect his ball over the crossbar (49′).
Alonso now reacted, bringing in Amiri (59th) for the offensive – and just six minutes later his deflected free kick hit the goal. A further six minutes went by before a counterattack via Jeremie Frimpong even brought the lead. Cologne didn’t give up, however, and substitute Steffen Tigges hit the crossbar in the 82nd minute.