Cologne shock Leverkusen, Schalke log another vital win


Nadiem Amiri of Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Davie Selke of 1. FC Koeln battle for the ball during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and 1. FC Köln at BayArena on May 5, 2023 in Leverkusen, Germany.

Bayer Leverkusen’s dress rehearsal for their Europa league semi-final at Roma has not gone to plan after going down to a surprise 2-1 Bundesliga derby home defeat against Cologne.

Davie Selke struck twice to end Leverkusen’s unbeaten run of 14 games in all competitions in a match brought forward by two days from Sunday to give Leverkusen more time to prepare for Thursday’s trip to Rome.

Marius Bulter meanwhile converted a penalty 12 minutes into stoppage time to give Schalke a 3-2 victory at Mainz and boost their survival hopes.

Selke headed Cologne ahead on their first serious attack in the 14th minute and restored their lead in the 36th, after Amine Adli had levelled for Leverkusen in the 28th off Moussa Diaby.

Leverkusen were unable to fight back again in the second half against a stubborn Cologne defence, with Diaby’s effort blocked in the 67th and Jonathan Tah heading wide on the ensuing corner kick.

“We had many opportunities but no real chances. We weren’t decisive enough. We conceded two cheap goals,” Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich told streaming portal DAZN.

Leverkusen remain sixth and the defeat against mid-table Cologne effectively ended their dim hopes for a top-four finish and they will sweat to play in Europe at all next season.

Wolfsburg are just two points behind, and Mainz three after their last-gasp loss against Schalke who rose from second last 17th to 14th for now after a second straight win, having also beaten Werder Bremen in added on time a week ago.

Bulter and Tom Krauss put Schalke ahead twice only for Mainz to level on each occasion from Leandro Barreiro’s volley and Aaron Martin Caricol’s curling free-kick into the top corner.

But Anthony Caci then pulled Bulter down deep into stoppage time and Schalke got the penalty after a long review which Bulter converted.

“It was crazy. It doesn’t happen that often that you win twice in stoppage time. But it was an important victory and we are very relieved,” Bulter told DAZN.

Leaders Bayern Munich are at Werder Bremen on Saturday and their title rivals Borussia Dortmund, one point back, host Wolfsburg on Sunday.

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