Leverkusen extend unbeaten run to 48 games with win at Frankfurt

Leverkusen extend unbeaten run to 48 games with win at Frankfurt

May 5, 2024 at 5:42 PM
Exequiel Palacios celebrates scoring a penalty in Bayer Leverkusen's 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt
Exequiel Palacios celebrates scoring a penalty in Bayer Leverkusen's 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. Photo: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP
Source: AFP

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Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen extended their season-long unbeaten run to 48 games with a 5-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

With Xabi Alonso forced to watch from the stands due to a yellow card suspension, Leverkusen turned on the style, winning with goals from Granit Xhaka, Patrik Schick, Jeremie Frimpong and penalties from Exequiel Palacios and Victor Boniface.

Alonso left midfield lynchpin Florian Wirtz, who turned 21 on Friday, out of the squad with Thursday's second Champions League semi-final against Roma in mind, but Leverkusen had no problems in attack.

Xhaka opened the scoring with a long-range effort, before Frankfurt equalised through Hugo Ekitike, who scored for the third game in succession.

Schick headed Leverkusen back in front just before half-time and World Cup winner Palacios scored a third from the penalty spot on the 58-minute mark.

The floodgates opened in the final stages, with Frimpong scoring just five minutes after coming on and then won a penalty with three minutes remaining.

Boniface converted the spot kick for Leverkusen's first win in Frankfurt for six years.

Leverkusen, who are unbeaten in 48 across all competitions, need to avoid defeat in two remaining league matches to become the first team to go unbeaten through a Bundesliga season.

Alonso's side have a 2-0 advantage ahead of Thursday's second Europa League semi-final leg at home and are through to the final of the German Cup, keeping their dreams of an incredible unbeaten treble alive.

Union on the edge

Earlier on Sunday, Bochum won 4-3 at Union Berlin, pushing the hosts closer to the drop just months after they were playing in the Champions League.

In the top division since 2019, Union Berlin finished fourth last season and were playing Champions League football against Real Madrid as recently as December.

Having built their success on home form, a lethargic Union were 3-0 down by half-time thanks to a Maximilian Wittek brace and a goal from former Berliner Keven Schlotterbeck.

Coach Nenad Bjelica made three changes at the break and they had their desired impact immediately.

Yorbe Vertessen and Chris Bedia, both of whom came off the bench, scored in a three-minute period to cut the deficit to one.

With Union on the march and looking for an equaliser, Bochum scored again, Philipp Hofmann heading in from close range.

The home side gave their fans hope again just four minutes later, Benedict Hollerbach again cutting the deficit to just a goal.

Union fought but could not score the equaliser and now sit just two points clear of Mainz in the relegation playoff spot.

Mainz play at promoted Heidenheim later on Sunday and could leapfrog Union into safety.

Leeds loanee Brenden Aaronson, one of three Union players to be subbed on at half-time, criticised his team's first-half performance.

"It was one of those days when we didn't show up and that's all there is to it.

"We need to band together and fight like we did in the second-half. That's what we need to take away from this game."

Bochum moved five clear of the drop with two games remaining this season.

AFP photo