Heavy rotation from Xabi Alonso failed to disrupt Leverkusen’s red-hot rhythm tonight as they saw off Molde. Die Werkself made their early opportunities count to see out a 2-1 victory away to Norwegian side Molde.
|Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
With wholesale changes made to the Leverkusen lineup after their win over Mainz, it took only 14 minutes to get off the mark tonight. First-team regular Jeremie Frimpong profited from an aggressive counter-press to slot home. Ten minutes later Nathan Tella made it 2-0. Hlozek fed the Englishman who fired low to open his account in Leverkusen colours.
Tella and Adli combined nicely just before the interval – A long ball broken by Hlozek prompted the break and Tella found the Moroccan, but his effort fizzed wide under pressure from Molde’s goalkeeper.
Molde started stronger upon the restart – Kaasa thrashed a volley over Kovar’s crossbar before the Czech reacted to smother Ellingsen’s effort in the subsequent attack. A third opportunity for the hosts fell to skipper Eikrem on the hour mark. Once more, Kovar narrowed the angle to keep the Norwegian club at bay.
The Bayer cavalry arrived with 20 minutes to play as Hofmann and Grimaldo joined the action. Molde substitute Kitolano made the greater impact however, albeit unlucky to see his shot cannon off the post. The hosts finally hit the net late on through Breivik. His header looped over Kovar to leave Leverkusen nerves jangling, but it would prove scant consolation in the end.