Leverkusen - SV Darmstadt recorded their first Bundesliga victory of the season at the expense of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who slumped to a 1-0 defeat to the newly-promoted outfit on Saturday afternoon.
Darmstadt went into the game with their unbeaten Bundesliga record still intact, having drawn their opening three games of the campaign. The Lilies started brightly and took the lead in superb fashion when skipper Aytac Sulu sent a bullet header past Bernd Leno with only eight minutes on the clock. Shaken by the early setback, die Werkself were restricted to shots from distance in the first 45 minutes, with Wendell and Karim Bellarabi both firing wide of the target before the interval.
They went close to an equaliser two minutes into the second half, though, Bellarabi forcing Darmstadt keeper Christian Mathenia into a fine save with a curling effort from the edge of the area. Roger Schmidt opted to make a double substitution just before the hour-mark, replacing Christoph Kramer and Hakan Calhanoglu with Kevin Kampl and debutant Javier Hernandez. Moments after Kyriakos Papadopoulos had somehow missed the target with a close-range header, the Mexican international sent a powerful header of his own into the arms of Mathenia, who was out quickly to thwart Stefan Kießling late on as Dirk Schuster’s side registered their first victory of the campaign.
Man of the match
Goalscorer Sulu was a rock at the back for the visitors, but last season’s Bundesliga 2 runners-up have Mathenia to thank for leaving the BayArena with all three points. The 23-year-old, who began his career at 1. FSV Mainz 05, made a string of second-half saves to keep the Lilies in the game, the best of which came at the feet of Kießling in the final ten minutes of the contest.
A 3-0 defeat at FC Bayern München notwithstanding, Leverkusen had started the campaign in impressive fashion with three victories from four league matches before the Matchday 4 clash. A 1-0 home defeat to promoted Darmstadt can hardly be classed as great preparation for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash with BATE Borisov, though, and Schmidt has work to do to rally his troops ahead of the Group E opener. Not that Dirk Schuster’s side will care after maintaining their unbeaten start to the 2015/16 season.
Stats of the match
- The 1-0 win at the BayArena was Darmstadt’s first victory in the Bundesliga since 1982
- Sulu’s eighth-minute strike was also the Lilies’ first headed goal of the campaign. Three of the skipper’s four goals last season were headers
- Leverkusen had over three times as many shots at goal (16 compared to five), but were powerless to avoid defeat