The Eagles suffered a 3-1 defeat away to Bayer Leverkusen at the restart of the Bundesliga season. The home team was dominant mostly and scored twice within the space of three minutes in the first half (Boenisch 31’, Kießling 33’), Schürrle added a goal (58’) while Alexander Meier got one back towards the end (78’).
Russ (middle) and Schwegler (right) look after Kießling (2nd from right)
Manager Armin Veh replaced Bamba Anderson (recovering from surgery) with new signing Marco Russ in defense alongside Carlos Zambrano. Also Karim Matmour was in the starting line-up instead of Olivier Occean.
The crowd of 28,767 saw a decent start of the top match between second ranked Bayer and fourth ranked SGE. Kevin Trapp in Eintracht’s goal got busy when Kießling came towards the front but the keeper was able to grab the ball in time (5’). Eintracht continued from their style of playing this season so far – courageous and confident. Early attacks ended with a couple of shots off target by Schwegler (9’) and Inui (11’).
15 minutes into the match referee Wolfgang Stark had to abandon the action for around eight minutes as Frankfurt supporters had sent off flares towards the pitch. When the players went on with the game Eintracht continued to push towards the front which resulted in a header of Inui (19’). Two minutes later Marco Russ did well to challenge Kießling who was through on goal, Russ was able to clear the ball (21’).
Via Oczipka the ball ended up with Inui who sharply crossed it into the box, Philipp Wollscheid was just able to clear the ball – Meier and Matmour would have been in good positions to grab the lead. But it were the hosts who scored, after a corner (Trapp had denied Castro with a great save) Russ cleared the ball but Sebastian Boenisch picked it up and put it past Trapp and Rode who was on the line with a deflected shot from 14 meters (31’).
SGE so far had shown a good performance but their good spirits were dampened again when only two minutes after the first Leverkusen added a second goal. This time Toprak launched a long ball which via Schürrle and Kießling ended up with Castro and as he was free on goal he was able to easily put the ball into the net (33’). Of course the startling two goal lead gave Bayer more ease and confidence, they even could have added a third by Rolfes (41’). The half time score line stood though.
There were no substitutions in either team. Pirmin Schwegler had a go but his shot went wide (47’). Then Kevin Trapp did well again to deny Andre Schürrle from scoring at the edge of the box (48’). Leverkusen got hold of the match now and again Castro tested Trapp with a questioning direct free-kick (51). Minutes later they sealed the deal in a way when Schürrle converted from a Kießling pass after a fast counter attack (3-0, 58’).
The Eagles kept trying but created little in front of Bernd Leno’s goal, the hosts remained in control and had plenty of space for counter attacks. Olivier Occean (who had come on for Matmour in the 62nd minute) came very close to scoring, his header hit the post, the keeper’s head and the post again, somehow Leno got hold of it after all (68’). But Bayer remained a tough opponent and nearly scored their fourth goal, some long range shots of Castro missed the target and once again Trapp had a very good moment saving Carvajal’s cracking shot (70’).
Then Alexander Meier stepped up and put it in at the other end. He picked picked up a short clearance and neatly side footed the ball sending a curly shot into the top right corner of Leno’s goal – 3-1 at least (78’). It was Meier’s 12th goal of the season.
Kittel came on for Inui and also Butscher for Zambrano, the Eagles kept going forward but created no further big chances. In the end Bayer took away all three points being more mature and ever so efficient – it was a deserved win for them. SGE remain fourth in the standings on 30 points, their next match is at home against TSG Hoffenheim (Saturday at 15.30h CET).
(HR / TT - 20.01.2013)