Xabi Alonso suffered his first Bundesliga defeat as Bayer Leverkusen coach on Saturday as his side slumped to a 5-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt after a dramatic second-half collapse.
The Spanish coach was left scratching his head as his side gave away two penalties, conceded five goals and had a player sent off against a clinical Frankfurt side.
“We ran into problems straight away and didn’t have the right intensity,” said Alonso after his side dropped into the bottom three.
“That is our fault, and there are no excuses,” he added.
Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich refused to point the finger at ex-Liverpool midfielder Alonso.
“Just because you have a new coach doesn’t mean you suddenly have no problems,” Andrich said,
“It’s up to us on the pitch to get ourselves out of this mess,” he added.
Frankfurt were dominant from the start, with striker Randal Kolo Muani missing several chances from open play before seeing his penalty saved by Lukas Hradecky on the stroke of half time.
Hradecky was judged to have left his line too quickly, however, and Daichi Kamada smashed in the retake to put the home side in front.
Piero Hincapie levelled the scores with a diving header in the second half, but Leverkusen’s joy was short-lived as they immediately went to sleep at the back.
Having lost the ball deep in their own half, the visitors then allowed Kolo Muani to ghost through the box and head in a Christopher Lenz cross.
Jesper Lindstrom doubled the lead with a scintillating chip over Hradecky’s head a few minutes later, before Leverkusen completely imploded.
Hincapie was sent off for a challenge on Kolo Muani, allowing Kamada to score his second penalty of the day, and former Leverkusen striker Lucas Alario rubbed salt in the wound with Frankfurt’s fifth a few minutes from time.
Leverkusen are now third from bottom in the relegation play-off place.
They have slipped behind fellow strugglers Stuttgart, who stormed to a 4-1 win over bottom side Bochum in their first game since the sacking of American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.
Stuttgart got off to a dream start under interim boss Michael Wimmer, as Silas Katompa Mvumba put them ahead from the penalty spot after just three minutes.
The Democratic Republic of Congo forward then set up Naouirou Ahamada for his side’s second, before a goalkeeping error allowed Simon Zoller to pull a goal back for Bochum.
Silas remained unstoppable in the second half, however, and he drilled a low shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-1 on 64 minutes before Wataru Endo sealed Stuttgart’s first win of the season.
– Leipzig thrash Hertha –
Stuttgart also leapfrogged Hertha Berlin, who lost 3-2 at RB Leipzig despite a valiant fightback in the second half.
Leipzig were cruising with a three-goal lead at half-time after Emil Forsberg, Abdou Diallo and Willi Orban all found the net.
Yet Hertha came within inches of a comeback as Dodi Lukebakio and Stevan Jovetic pulled goals back and Wilfried Kanga hit the post in injury time.
Elsewhere, French striker Marcus Thuram maintained his excellent early-season form with two goals in Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg.
Thuram opened the scoring on the counter attack early on, before Yannick Gerhardt levelled the scores just before half time.
The Gladbach striker pounced on a loose ball to restore the lead early in the second half, but a sharp finish from Omar Marmoush saw Wolfsburg come from behind again to rescue a point.
Mainz continued their good away form with a 2-0 win at Werder Bremen, their fourth win on the road this year.
Danish striker Marcus Ingvartsen scored for the second week in a row to give Mainz the lead, before South Korea’s Lee Jae-sung doubled the lead with a deflected finish in the second half.