Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Borussia Mönchengladbach – Clinical Werkself maintain 100% record

Sydney Sam was at the center of attention Saturday at the BayArena, guiding Die Werkself to their third league win in as many matches. The winger started the season brightly and his performance against the Foals, which resulted in two goals and an assist, further goes to show his role in the spirited Leverkusen side. Gladbach fought back from two goals down in the early proceeding of the second half only to find them back in the same territory as Bayer 04’s ruthless attacking line proved to be the difference between the sides. Leverkusen joins the other three sides with a perfect record in the top of the table after their victory, whereas Mönchengladbach left empty-handed from their first couple of trips of the season.

Formations

Neither coach made notable lineup changes from their first two league outings as the early season performances have been pretty good in both camps before this match. Sami Hyypia counted on the sensational trio of Sydney Sam, Son Heung-Min and Stefan Kießling upfront,  which lead to all of the three goals Bayer scored in the opening day victory against Freiburg.

For the third week in the row, Lucien Favre picked the same starting eleven with new signing Christoph Kramer facing his former side. Last week suggested, on their day, the quartet attacking force of Juan Arango, Patrick Herrmann, Raffael and Max Kruse can be a nightmare for any opposition.

First Half

The guests started the match in a promising manner with a lot of possessions in Bayer’s half in the first five minutes. But, their passing fluency was far from an imposing one as Bayer, boosted by their new terrace behind the goal, started to dominate the proceedings. Soon Gladbach were in the same situation that they encountered Opening Day against Bayern, as they were down by two goals just in the half an hour mark. First Juan Arango was penalized for a handball against the run of play, and from the resulting spot-kick Kießling slotted home the opener. Moments later last season’s league top scorer unselfishly picked up Sydney Sam to double his side’s lead.

Gladbach were able to grab a goal back in the first half at the Allianz on Dante’s own goal, but could not get on the first half scoreboard Saturday. Bayer Leverkusen, on the other hand, could hardly imagine a better start to another Bundesliga win.

Second Half

The Foals had to wait until the 50th minute mark to call Bernd Leno into an action and soon after find themselves level in the score-line. Bayer’s goalie failed to hold on to Max Kruse’s harmless cross which lead Juan Arango to tuck the equalizer just in time moments after Martin Stranzl’s close range strike put Gladbach into the match.

The joy was short-lived though as Sydney Sam exploited the space to steer home a brilliant shot at the hour mark. The in-form winger followed his brace with an assist later on as Gonzalo Castro beautifully guided home his effort from long-range to restore the two goal lead. Borussia were unable to work their way back once again, and lost their second away match of the season, although both losses were against Champions League clubs.

Summary

The game lived up to the expectation as one of the goal feast encounter in the league. The Foals famously won the MatchDay 2 fixture of the 2010-11 campaign at Leverkusen by a staggering 6-3 score-line and since then the sides’ meeting produced 28 goals in just seven fixtures – a ratio of 4 goals per match.

With last season’s closest rival Schalke suffering an abysmal start to the new season, Leverkusen are now quite clearly presenting  themselves as a club who can push for the title. Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich also kept their start to the season perfect on the weekend, but only just. In contrast, Leverkusen have scored eight goals thus far on the season and didn’t have to dig deep to come up with the wins as the last year’s Champions League finalists did.

In their two away defeats thus far, Mönchengladbach’s otherwise commendable defensive line have conceded seven goals in just three hours of football. The Foals may curse the luck that saw them concede three penalty kicks on handballs, as some referees tend to decide against giving a penalty for such calls, in just three matches; but, then again, the Foals haven’t been able to capitalize on their opponent’s generosity in the form of the Dante’s own-goal on MatchDay 1 and Bernd Leno’s horrendous error Saturday.

Next up

After ending the four match winless streak against the Foals, Bayer Leverkusen face yet another tricky test next week as they pay a visit to a struggling Schalke side. In the corresponding fixture of last season, the Royal Blues salvaged a point after going down two goals. There was no restoring the two goal caution back then.

As for Gladbach, Werder Bremen will come to Borussia-Park next week after their winning streak and clean-sheet record halted by Borussia Dortmund on Friday. In last year’s meetup, Peniel Mlapa ruined a perfect opportunity with a goal in his mercy right in the dying minutes to give the Foals all the three points after he scored the equalizer himself in the sides’ last meeting.

Bayer 04 – Leno; Toprak, Spahić, Hilbert (Donati), Boenisch; Reinartz, Bender, Castro; Son (Kruse), Sam, Kießling (Hegler)

Gladbach – ter Stegen; Domínguez, Stranzl, Daems, Jantschke; Kramer, Xhaka (Younes), Arango (Hrgota), Herrmann (de Jong), Raffael; Max Kruse

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Eskender born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Despite the geographical differences, he's interested in every detail of German football, if not any kind of football. Wolfsburg's industrious away win at Hamburg started his Bundesliga obsession back in 2005. You can also follow him on Twitter @eskeBMG

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