Fritz Walter Stadion alumni come back to haunt their former employers as last season's runners up climb to sixth in the BundesligaMichael Ballack and Sidney Sam scored against their former club as Leverkusen ran out 2-0 winners at Kaiserslautern in the Bundesliga's opening match of the weekend.
The match started at breakneck pace. Dorge Kouemaha should have given the hosts the lead after just three minutes, but the Cameroon international scuffed his volley.
It wasn’t long before Leverkusen had a chance of its own. Sam headed Gonzalo Castro’s cross back into the path of Ballack, who unleashed a fierce shot that Kevin Trapp gathered at the second attempt.
Kouemaha squandered his second chance to cap a frantic opening 10 minutes as he muscled his way through Leverkusen’s defense, but the 28-year-old’s left-footed finish trickled wide when he should have done better.
The game needed a spark, and Lars Bender almost provided one shortly after the break, as he forced a spectacular save from Trapp from 30 meters.
Minutes later, the visitors were ahead. Ballack collected Sam’s ball, moved inside before shooting directly at Trapp, who could only drop the ball into his own net.
The goal brought life into the game. Bender unleashed another ferocious strike which Trapp could only parry into Castro’s path, but the 24-year-old contrived to prod the ball wide when he should have doubled his side’s lead.
Meanwhile the hosts had chances of their own. Kouemaha wriggled through once more but Leno blocked his toe poke, before the 19-year-old parried a shot, only to jump on the ball a second later.
Robin Dutt’s men killed off any chance of a revival 20 minutes from the end of the game. Lars Bender picked up the ball and fed Sidney Sam, who was able to poke the ball past Trapp.
Eren Derdiyok almost rubbed salt into Marco Kurz’s wounds with a late effort that Trapp parried, but in the end, a two-goal victory was enough to send Leverkusen into sixth. Kaiserslautern, meanwhile, sit just three points clear of the drop zone.