Bayer Leverkusen trash Cologne

21

Bayer Leverkusen turned it on in the second half to claim a 5-1 victory in the Rhineland derby against Cologne. The Goats started well and went in front through Matthias Lehmann's early penalty but high-flying Leverkusen fought back and Karim Bellarabi's equaliser ensured it was all square at the interval. It was largely one-way traffic after the break, though, with Hakan Calhanoglu putting Leverkusen ahead before Josip Drmic (two) and Bellarabi added further goals to seal an emphatic win for Roger Schmidt's side, who booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek. It did not take long for the first Rhineland derby in nearly three years to come to life with the referee pointing to the penalty spot and booking Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno after he felled Lehmann just four minutes in. Lehmann took it upon himself to face the intimidating boos of the home fans and send Leno the wrong way from the spot. Leno's day could have been over after a quarter of an hour when Anthony Ujah went down inside the area under the 'keeper's challenge, although this time there was no penalty and no yellow card. It was a lucky escape, but Cologne were having plenty of those as they resisted Leverkusen's attacks, at least until the 26th minute. Calhanoglu's direct free-kick was too hot for Timo Horn to handle and he let the ball slip out to Bellarabi, who levelled from close range. With Cologne's resistance finally broken, Leverkusen went for the jugular with Son Heung-min and Calhanoglu both going close before Stefan Kiessling arrived just too late to tuck in a loose ball the way Bellarabi had from another Horn fumble. It is widely known how dangerous Calhanoglu is from a free-kick, but that does not make it any easier preventing him from scoring, as Horn discovered on the hour mark as he saw the Turkish midfielder's effort curl into the top corner. Leverkusen started to take things a little too easy after gaining the lead and, after a few warnings, half-time substitute Drmic gave them a two-goal cushion with his shot taking a deflection off Kevin Wimmer. Drmic got another two minutes before time with a volley which Horn could only help on its way in. The former Nurnberg forward then turned provider as Bellarabi put the cherry on top of Leverkusen's win with a chip past Horn with the last kick of the game.