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Leverkusen celebrate after making it 2-0

Photo: Martin Meissner / AP

Bayer Leverkusen defended their lead at the top of the table with a 3-0 (2-0) win against 1. In the 74th meeting between the two teams, Jonas Hofmann (22nd minute), Jeremie Frimpong (32nd) and Victor Boniface (68th) scored the goals for the hosts.

With an energy as if he wanted to break Leverkusen's city record, Bayer coach Xabi Alonso screwed himself up in the 22nd minute. The reason for his jubilation: a fantastically played goal by his team. Boniface beat Timo Hübers centrally and passed to Alejandro Grimaldo on the left wing. Florian Wirtz backheeled his cross to Hofmann, who finished off the move with a well-judged shot into the right corner.

Ten minutes later, Alonso had another opportunity to test his jumping ability: Grimaldo played a sharp pass through the six-yard box at the end of another very nice attack, where Frimpong pushed the ball over the line at the back post (32'). Leverkusen pressed, Leverkusen conjured up, but shortly before the half-time whistle Cologne almost managed to tie the game: first Davie Selke missed, then Eric Martel (both 45'+2').

Boniface with his seventh goal of the season

Cologne did not act like a club that had lost three times in a row. However, this was not enough to put Bayer in trouble. With tremendous passing security and coordinated by Granit Xhaka in defensive midfield, Leverkusen underpinned their ambitions as a top team. In the 54th minute, Boniface took advantage of a Cologne mistake in the build-up and cleverly crossed to Frimpong, who failed to beat the best guest player, goalkeeper Marvin Schwäbe.

Bayer's next goal was only a matter of time. Hofmann headed the ball to Frimpong, started on the right wing and received the ball in the run. The Germany international kept his head up and found Bonicafe running in the penalty area, who had no trouble converting the cross to make it 3-0 (68'). It was the 22-year-old Nigerian's seventh goal of the season. He missed the eighth in the 78th minute when his shot past the onrushing Swabian only touched the post.

Leverkusen travel to Wolfsburg after the international break (Saturday, 21/10, 15:30 CEST), while Cologne have their sights set on the next derby the following day – a home game against Borussia Mönchengladbach (Sunday, 22/10, 15:30 CEST).