BERLIN (AP) — Hertha Berlin’s hopes of edging further away from the Bundesliga’s relegation zone were wrecked Sunday in a 4-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen.
Moussa Diaby, Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong starred for Leverkusen as it bounced back from two league games without a win with a convincing display of attacking soccer. The visitors found themselves unable to compete with the home team’s speed on the wings.
“We lacked intensity,” Hertha coach Sandro Schwarz said. “We played into Leverkusen’s hands.”
Frimpong and Diaby combined down the right before the latter cut the back for Sardar Azmoun to open the scoring in the 12th minute, and it was a similar story for the second goal in the 21st.
Frimpong and Odilon Kossounou sent Diaby racing down the right and the French forward cut the ball back for Frimpong to score, though he could have picked out any of the four Leverkusen players who ran with him in anticipation of the cross.
Frimpong had to go off injured in the 29th, by which time the game was already going in one direction with Hertha unable to muster a response to the early setbacks.
It continued in the same vein after the break, when Diaby struck the crossbar and then grabbed the third goal on the hour-mark.
Dodi Lukebakio’s penalty in the 67th provided only brief respite for the visitors, with Amine Adli adding Leverkusen’s fourth in the 73rd.
Hertha remained just one point ahead of the bottom four teams — Stuttgart, Hoffenheim, Schalke and Bochum — all on 19 points.
Leverkusen climbed to ninth.
“Hopefully we can take this performance into the future because we have two tough weeks ahead of us,” Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso said. His team next faces Hungarian champion Ferencváros in the round of 16 of the Europa League on Thursday.
Wolfsburg drew with Eintracht Frankfurt 2-2 in a game pitting two coaches against their former teams.
Frankfurt coach Oliver Glasner previously led Wolfsburg, while his counterpart Niko Kovac used to be Frankfurt coach.
Omar Marmoush fired Wolfsburg ahead, the visitors struck back through Randal Kolo Muani and Evan Ndicka, before Yannick Gerhardt equalized — all in the first half.
Frankfurt stayed sixth with Wolfsburg five points behind in eighth.
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