Werkself through to DFB-Pokal quarter-finals with 3-1 win over Paderborn

Bayer 04 are through to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal after a 3-1 win over Paderborn in the round of 16. Victor Boniface opened the scoring before Exequiel Palacios doubled up inside the first half hour. Sebastian Klaas got one back for the visitors on 82 minutes, but Patrik Schick restored the two-goal lead a few moments later as Leverkusen extended their unbeaten start to 2023/24 to 21 matches.

Head coach Xabi Alonso made five changes to his team from the one that started the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. Matej Kovar started in goal in place of Lukas Hradecky. The back three consisted of Josip Stanisic, Robert Andrich and Piero Hincapie instead of Odilon Kossounou, Jonathan Tah and Edmond Tapsoba. In attack, Amine Adli got the nod over Jonas Hofmann, who was on the bench.

Dominant and clinical

The game didn’t take long to burst into life as Bayer 04 came close inside two minutes, but Jeremie Frimpong missed Adli’s delivery into the box from the left. A minute later, Paderborn had an effort from range from Kai Klefisch. The next notable attack was enough for the Werkself as Boniface ran onto Stanisic’s cross from deep and flicked the ball in off the far post for the opening goal. The Nigerian celebrated by showing the jersey of teammate Arthur, who suffered a recurrence of a muscular injury earlier in the week.

Leverkusen continued to dictate play after the goal. That control again bore fruits in the 28th minute when captain-for-the-day Andrich won the ball inside the Paderborn half and played in Palacios. He moved the ball onto Frimpong running away down the right, who cut back to the Argentina international on the edge of the box to fire home low and make it 2-0.

Frimpong am Ball

Further chances in the first half fell to Florian Wirtz, who took a fraction too long with his shot after a solo run. Adli then beat Paderborn goalkeeper Pelle Boevink after a one-two with Boniface, but the goal was chalked off for offside against the opening goalscorer. It meant Leverkusen went into the break 2-0 up, but Wirtz remained in the changing room after he’d been caught on the heel by Filip Bilbija.

Schick ensures progress

The pattern of play remained the same after the restart. Alejandro Grimaldo had an early effort before Boniface sent substitute Hofmann clear. He beat the on-rushing Boevink and put into the empty net, but again the goal was ruled out after a VAR review. The Werkself could play with patience as they looked for further openings, but the Bundesliga 2 side surprisingly got a goal back with eight minutes remaining of the 90. After Tapsoba cleared an Adriano Grimaldi effort off the line, Tah’s ensuing attempted clearance went straight to Klaas, who spun and fired home to bring it back to 2-1.

Jubel Team

However, it didn’t appear to affect the Werkself as they carved out another telling chance as Frimpong crossed low for Schick, who turned in at the near post just moments after his introduction. It means Leverkusen are through to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal and will discover their opponents when the draw is made on Sunday, 10 December.

Stuttgart, Molde, Frankfurt to come

Alonso’s men only have four days until their next fixture as they go to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Sunday (15:30 CET). The following Thursday, 14 December, Molde come to the BayArena for the final group game in the UEFA Europa League (18:45). The week ends with another home game against Eintracht Frankfurt for Bundesliga Matchday 15 on Sunday, 17 December (17:30).

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Kovar – Stanisic, Andrich, Hincapie (Tapsoba 46')– Frimpong (Tella 90'), Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo – Wirtz (Hofmann 45'+2), Adli (Tah 75'), Boniface (Schick 75')

Paderborn: Boevink – Musliu, Rohr (Heuer 21'), Hoffmeier – Obermair, Klefisch (Grimaldi 58'), Kinsombi, Schuster, Muslija (Klaas 68') – Bilbija (Platte 58'), Ansah (Conteh 68')

Goals: 1-0 Boniface (11'), 2-0 Adli (28'), 2-1 Klaas (82'), 3-1 Schick (87')

Yellow cards: Hincapie - Bilbija, Kinsombi

Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)

Attendance: 29,249 (home area sold out) at the BayArena

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