Leverkusen (dpa) – The horn concert around the BayArena was the result of a long-planned convoy of Christmas tractors. But the first league lead in six years, just a week before the guest appearance at Bayern Munich, made Bayer Leverkusen very happy.
“It’s a snapshot. But one that is worth something and that we have to appreciate”, said Bayer’s Julian Baumgartlinger after the 4-1 (2-0) against 1899 Hoffenheim: “In a competition with Bayern, Dortmund and Leipzig. is difficult. That gives us momentum for the final sprint until Christmas. ”Captain Lars Bender wanted to“ take a picture ”of the table. Coach Peter Bosz said with a smile: “We have more points than all our opponents. If that were the case after 34 match days, I would be euphoric.”
The Austrian laughed at the tractor horn: “Maybe it was a wedding.” His fellow countryman Christoph Baumgartner, who played for Hoffenheim, thought it was “cool somewhere. Finally the atmosphere in the cabin was again. We hadn’t had that for a long time, so you could barely hear the other players.”
Before the league struck against Munich on Saturday in Leverkusen, the unbeaten Leverkusen must defend the classification leader in the English week in the Rhine derby at 1. FC Köln. Leon Bailey was again decisive for Bayer, pushing the Munich record champion off the top. In the sometimes exciting duel of the Europa League group winners, the Jamaican met a dream goal after a creative corner variant (4th minute) and as a ball thief after a catastrophic return ball from Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric (27th). After Baumgartner’s goal (50th), U21 international Florian Wirtz made it 3-1 (55th) before Lucas Alario scored with a hand penalty (90th + 1). Wirtz greeted via T-shirt with the inscription “Emil” according to Sky a sick friend.
Hoffenheim also ended the game after yellow-red cards for Florian Grillitsch (65th) and Stefan Posch (79th) – which upset goalkeeper Oliver Baumann. “It’s very bitter to have played against twelve,” he said at Sky, also criticizing acting colleagues: “I get pissed off when players scream and two minutes later I jump around like a young deer.” Coach Sebastian Hoeneß also said: “With all due respect, that was a referee performance that put us at a disadvantage.”
Bayer takes first place for the first time since September 12, 2014, or exactly 2,284 days at the end of a game day. At that time it was the third, at a later date than now, Leverkusen was last at the top in February 2010. With future world champion Toni Kroos in midfield and Jupp Heynckes as coach. For Hoffenheim, which, like Leverkusen, won the group in the Europa League with 16 points, an upward trend ended after three games in a row without a defeat. The team of trainer Sebastian Hoeneß is in eleventh place after eleven match days.
Bayer’s early leadership was the result of a stroke of genius. After a short corner kick with Nadiem Amiri, Bailey threw the ball almost from the right flank with an unstoppable left flank in the far corner. When celebrating the goal, the Jamaican sprinted towards assistant coach Rob Maas. The ex-pro of Arminia Bielefeld, Hertha BSC and MSV Duisburg has been assistant to his Dutch fellow countryman Peter Bosz in Leverkusen since the summer and is responsible for the standards in this role and apparently had the idea for the variant. The 2-0 result was a blackout by Kramaric. Bailey sprinted to Baumann’s 70-meter back pass and pushed it in – his ninth goal in the past nine competitive games.
Baumgartner’s Schlenzer to 1: 2 really reopened the game. Baumgartner almost equalized two minutes, but missed from seven meters. Bayer punished that and, after a nice request from Schick, Wirtz succeeded.