European hangover for Leverkusen

1. FC Köln made it back-to-back Rheinland derby victories this afternoon with am emphatic 4-1 victory at the BayArena against a weary Bayer Leverkusen side.

Bayer Leverkusen had looked comfortable in possession during the first half in a match that saw a few tasty derby challenges.

Daniel Schwaab and Andre Schürrle both tested Michael Rensing in the first half and Eren Derdiyok should have given his side the lead in front of goal but spooned his effort agonisingly over the bar.

Bayer Leverkusen were made to pay for their missed opportunities as Milivoje Novakovic opened the scoring on the stroke of half time. Lukas Podolski outmuscled Omer Toprak down the left wing before laying the ball across the six yard box for the tall Slovenian striker to tap into an empty net.

Things went from bad to worse after the restart for the home side who were back in Bundesliga action following Tuesday’s 2-0 loss at the hands of Chelsea in England in their opening Champions League game.

Podolski and Novakovic combined again as they lead a two-on-two counter attack inside two minutes of the second half. Novakovic turned provider this time as he setup Podolski at the back stick for Köln’s second of the game.

It wasn’t long after that Podolski doubled his tally on the night. Adil Chihi and Novakovic combined to play in Podolski who smashed home from the left hand side across Bernd Leno in the Leverkusen goal.

Leno had conceded his first goal in his fourth game for Leverkusen last weekend, before another 2 on Tuesday night. 3 goals conceded in 7.5 hours was doubled in less than an hour by rivals FC Köln.

Mato Jajalo came close to making it four when he hit the post, but Leverkusen were next to score. Rensing tipped a Sidney Sam header over the bar, but the resulting corner saw Simon Rolfes turn home the ball in the 70th minute after Hanno Balitsch’s near post flick on had been parried.

It turned out to be nothing more than a consolation for the hosts who struggled to create further chances in the final quarter of an hour. Andre Schürrle was shown a straight red in stoppage time for a nasty foul on Christian Eichner before Jajalo completed the scoring when the flicked the ball over Leno in the final few moments.