Jeremie Frimpong involved in refereeing controversy pre-Celtic as Bochum win boils over
Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong has been embroiled in some refereeing controversy in the build-up to Thursday night’s reunion with Celtic.
Frimpong, who spent 16 months as a Celtic player before making the switch to Germany in January 2021, is due to face the Hoops in Thursday’s Europa League clash.
It’s fair to say he’s been having a productive season too. Even though Bayer have had inconsistent results domestically, Frimpong continues to be regularly exposed to Bundesliga action. The Dutch youngster has accumulated 18 appearances this term, starting every competitive game for the club this season [Transfermarkt].
But he got away with a bad one on Saturday in their 1-0 win against VFL Bochum. Frimpong put in a studs-high challenge on Bochum’s Elvis Rexhbecaj that he somehow managed to get away with. The clash was a high-tempered one, with several controversial decisions throughout. And it’s clear Bochum midfielder Elvis Rexbecaj was left fuming with the Dutchman post-match.
As quoted by Revier Sport, Rexhbecaj said: “Honestly, you can’t get a clearer red. He clearly hits me with a straight leg. And the second situation was not controversial, but clear. If Jonathan Tah didn’t make the challenge then we score, we go straight for the goal. For me it’s a penalty.
“But we’re VfL Bochum, nobody cares. I had that feeling. Overall, we were clearly the better team. After the early goal only one team was positive and that was us.”
Jeremie Frimpong and Bayer Leverkusen struggling as Celtic close in
So Frimpong was lucky to stay on the pitch by the looks of things. It also seems as though Bochum could’ve had a stonewall penalty to snatch what clearly would’ve been a deserved draw for their efforts at the BayArena.
Let’s not forget the visitors had as many as 21 shots on goal throughout the contest. That’s 10 more than Leverkusen managed despite picking up the points [WhoScored]. It shows just how vulnerable they are at the back.
Not that it should come as a surprise to Celtic of course. If we’re being honest, we should’ve rattled home several goals against Bayer at Celtic Park back in late September. We certainly would’ve been good value for it given the opportunities we created. We’re expecting some more of the same on Thursday night but with a more clinical edge.
We’re going to need it. Leverkusen will look to come at us and put on a show for their supporters. They still need to pick up some points to top the group. They’ll be looking to do that at the first opportunity and ensure they don’t need to negotiate a potential banana-skin away to Ferencvaros.
As for Frimpong, he was hardly one of the standouts at Celtic Park. In fact, Jota had him on toast on a few occasions. That’s certainly something Celtic fans can take heart in. But it’s how we defend against him up the other end that will dictate how this game goes.
Bayer are struggling, but we know the threat they pose in the final third. It’s considerable. Here’s hoping we can stifle it much more efficiently than we did in Glasgow.