Head coach Xabi Alonso rotated again with his 3-4-3 formation including four changes from the line-up in the 0-0 draw at home to Club Brugge in the Champions League: Piero Hincapie started in defence in place of Jonathan Tah, Kerem Demirbay came in for Exequiel Palacios in midfield. The Spanish coach also opted for two changes up front: In addition to Moussa Diaby on the right, Adam Hlozek and Nadiem Amiri came into the starting line-up in place of Patrik Schick and Callum Hudson-Odoi respectively.
The visitors made a committed start and pressed the Werkself early on. Bayer 04 focused on their build-up play and had the majority of possession in the opening stages. Diaby with a cross (5') and Hlozek with a long-range effort (30') came close to threatening the goal minded by Lennart Grill, who is currently on a season-long loan to Union Berlin from Bayer 04. However, the compact Union defence were again and again able to disrupt the Black and Red attacks before any real danger arose.
The first clear-cut chance of the match fell to the hosts on 38 minutes: Amiri tried a diagonal shot from 18 yards out but his shot went over the bar. Two minutes after that, it was the turn of the team under head coach Urs Fischer to have their first and best chance of the first half: A free kick from Christopher Trimmel found the head of teammate Diogo Leite but his close range header also went over the target. The two teams went into half-time with the score at 0-0 after 45 minutes with plenty of challenges and few attacking moves.
There was a frenetic start to the second half: The Black and Reds had the first corner of the game one minute after the restart. Demirbay hit the ball towards the far post where Robert Andrich was able to slot the ball into the back of the net from close range to give the Werkself a 1-0 lead.
The Black and Reds appeared to have a weight lifted off their shoulders. Ten minutes later, following a corner for Union Berlin a back pass to the Irons keeper Grill outside his area saw him fail to control the ball and he lost it to Jeremie Frimpong. The move ended with Diaby on his own in the box as he slotted the ball past the Union defenders to double the lead on 56 minutes. Less than two minutes later, Mitchel Bakker played a long ball to the Frenchman who went through one-on-one with Grill to hit a low shot into the net for his second goal. 3-0 to Leverkusen.
The Fischer team found it increasingly difficult to cope with the fast-paced Leverkusen attack. With 68 minutes on the clock, Amiri raced down the left flank to the edge of the box where he beat Timo Baumgartl before whipping the ball into the middle where Hlozek scored with an impressive backheel to make it 4-0.
And there was more to come: On 76 minutes, it was again the impressive Amiri who backheeled the ball into the path of Hlozek who showed great awareness to pick out Bakker in the middle of the penalty area. The Dutchman kept his cool and slotted the ball into the far corner to make it 5-0.
The Werkself have a busy week before the World Cup break with the last two matches in the current calendar year. The Alonso team travel down the road on Wednesday 9 November for the derby at FC Köln. The kick-off at the Rheinenergie Stadium is at 18.30 CET. Three days after that, Leverkusen entertain VfB Stuttgart at the BayArena. The game on Saturday 12 November kicks off at 15.30 CET.
Bayer 04: Hradecky - Kossounou, Tapsoba (Tah 69'), Hincapie - Frimpong (Fosu-Mensah 78'), Demirbay (Palacios 55'), Andrich, Bakker - Diaby (Adli 69'), Hlozek (Hudson-Odoi 78'), Amiri
Union Berlin: Grill – Baumgartl, Knoche, Leite – Trimmel, Khedira (Pantovic 69'), Ryerson – Thorsby (Seguin 60'), Haberer (Skarke 75') – Siebatcheu (Behrens 60'), Becker (Michel 60')
Goals: 1-0 Andrich (46’), 2-0 Diaby (56’), 3-0 Diaby (58’), 4-0 Hlozek (68’), 5-0 Bakker (76’)
Booked: Amiri - Khedira, Siebatcheu, Thorsby, Leite
Referee: Robert Schröder (Hannover)
Attendance: 30,210 (sell-out) at the BayArena
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