Stuttgart - A Daniel Schwaab own goal ensured Bayer 04 Leverkusen's 100 per cent winning start to the season remains intact after a 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart.
The Werkself old boy's 41st-minute mishap leaves Stuttgart still searching for their first points of the 2013/14 campaign and Leverkusen, momentarily at least, top of the Bundesliga pile.
Leverkusen set about their task with plenty of intent, with who else but Stefan Kießling firing off the first strike of the afternoon. Sidney Sam was likewise causing problems for Bruno Labbadia’s makeshift back four and after his cross was only half cleared, Stuttgart had goalkeeper Sven Ulreich’s outstretched boot to thank for keeping out Kießling from close range.
Roared on by a partisan crown, Stuttgart enjoyed ad hoc forays into Leverkusen territory, more often than not thanks to the lung-busting efforts of Gotoku Sakai, who played his part as the hosts passed up a glorious opportunity to go in front. The Japan international fed Martin Harnik who, in turn, found Ibrahima Traore, but the Guinea star could only direct his effort over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
Unnerved, Leverkusen got straight back on the attacking horse, with Stefan Reinhartz’ slide-rule pass tearing a hole in the Stuttgart back four and finding the feet of Sam, whose delicate strike came back off the foot of the post. The hosts duly responded, but the pressure proved too much for Arthur Boka when through on goal - and with a man over at that.
On this occasion, though, Stuttgart really were made to pay for their profligacy as Leverkusen took a fortuitous lead. Heung Min Son expertly found the rampaging Sebastian Boenisch, whose left-wing cross, destined for the toe of poacher extraordinaire Kießling, was turned into his own net by Schwaab.
Labbadia threw caution to the wind after the restart with the introduction of Germany striker Cacau and Borussia Dortmund loanee Moritz Leitner, but it was Leverkusen who looked the more likely to add to their tally as Son lashed over on the turn.
Desperate to get back into the contest, Stuttgart's gung-ho approach inevitably left them exposed, but neither Kießling, still chasing his 100th goal for the club, nor Sam could take advantage. To their credit, the hosts gave it one final push late on, with Christian Gentner tickling the crossbar from range and Bernd Leno denying Timo Werner in spectacular fashion to round off a thoroughly entertaining contest.
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