Bayer Leverkusen open up 10-point gap at top of Bundesliga with 10 games to go

By Sports Desk March 03, 2024

Bayer Leverkusen extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to 10 points with a 2-0 derby win at Cologne.

A bad-tempered first half between the local rivals saw Jan Thielmann sent off just 14 minutes into the game and a flurry of yellow cards were shown before Jeremie Frimpong put Leverkusen ahead.

Cologne put up a good fight but any chance of an unlikely comeback was ended when Alejandro Grimaldo doubled the lead in the second half.

With only 10 games remaining, Leverkusen are closing in on ending Bayern Munich’s 11 straight title wins after Thomas Tuchel’s side dropped more points in a 2-2 draw against Freiburg on Friday, while third-bottom Cologne remain in relegation danger.

The opening 10 minutes saw both teams have chances with Jonas Hofmann coming close for the leaders before Linton Maina picked out Dejan Ljubicic at the back post, but the Cologne midfielder nodded wide.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men when Thielmann caught Granit Xhaka on his Achilles and, following a VAR consultation, was dismissed.

Despite Leverkusen’s domination Cologne defended well, but the visitors were beginning to threaten when Grimaldo blasted a free-kick over the bar and Marvin Schwabe made a brilliant low save with one hand from Florian Wirtz’s strike from a tight angle.

Leverkusen eventually found the breakthrough in the 37th minute when Grimaldo’s cross was flicked by Patrik Schick into the path of Frimpong, who tapped the ball underneath Schwabe.

The captain made another great save to deny Wirtz moments later and Cologne pressed for an equaliser when Faride Alidou headed wide just before the break.

Cologne had another fantastic chance five minutes into the second half when Sargis Adamyan’s acrobatic volley thundered off the post.

Cologne did well to counter Leverkusen’s attacks, but could not stop the visitors from extending their lead in the 73rd minute when Amine Adli cut the ball back to Grimaldo on the edge of the box and his low strike deflected past Schwabe.

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