LEVERKUSEN TAKE THE POINTS
Kai Havertz's second-half penalty settles matters at the Mercedez-Benz Arena. Leverkusen had the better chances, with Havertz going close to a second right at the death. Bayer climb to seventh, while Stuttgart remain in the relegation play-off spot.
90' + 1'
ASCACIBAR SENT OFF!
Stuttgart wil play the final three minutes of added time with ten men. There's a coming together between Santiago Ascacibar and Kai Havertz off the ball. The Argentine is the instigator, and off he heads for an early bath!
90' + 1'
It's Leverkusen sub Lucas Alario, not Gomez, who almost makes the desired impact from the bench. The Argentine powers a header towards goal, only to be denied by a fine finger-tip save from Ron-Robert Zieler.
Can Mario Gomez make the difference in Stuttgart? He's got less than 10 minutes of normal time to turn the tide...
The partisan home crowd roar their players on as Ozan Kabak advances towards the edge of Leverkusen's 18-yard area. He catches it well, but it's straight at Lukas Hradecky.
Kai Havertz is Leverkusen's top scorer this season with 13 Bundesliga goals. The 19-year-old has opened the scoring on six occassions - only Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramaric has more deadlock-breakers to his name in 2018/19.
OVER FROM BAILEY
Not long after Volland tests Zieler, Leverkusen win a very presentable free-kick on the edge of the Stuttgart area. We've seen Leon Bailey score from this kind of range against Bremen and Bayern this year, but the Jamaican can't keep this particular effort down.
That's two attacking Stuttgart changes for Stuttgart - will we see a third in six-goal top scorer Mario Gomez? The 33-year-old has netted 12 goals in 15 career meetings with Leverkusen...
Kai Havertz breaks the deadlock from the spot on his 100th competitive appearance. It wasn't the greatest penalty, but it had just enough swerve on it to avoid Ron-Robert Zieler's trailing leg.
GOAL!0 : 1
PENALTY - LEVERKUSEN!
Gonzalo Castro sends Kevin Volland tumbling in the box - and the referee points straight to the spot...
GOALS ON THE CARDS?
Steven Zuber sees a long-range effort charged down by a black shirt. The game is really beginning to open up, which usually means one thing...
LEVERKUSEN IN CONTROL
It's all Leverkusen at the start of the second half as Julian Brandt collects from Kai Havertz and fires wide. Bayer come again through Charles Aranguiz - he finds Kevin Volland, but his header is just wide.
DIDAVI DANGER; ZIELER HEROICS
Still the Stuttgart threat remains. Daniel Didavi tries his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards, but it's meat and drink for Lukas Hradecky. Up the other end, and it's Ron-Robert Zieler with the save off the afternoon to deny Kevin Volland's 10-yard piledriver following a corner. That had goal written all over it. Sensational stuff - and a fitting end to an entertaining first 45! This can't stay goalless for long...
VOLLAND WITH A SIGHT OF GOAL
As we touched on earlier, Jonathan Tah is as strong as an ox. This time he's in an advanced position, palming off the white shirts like he's Brock Lesnar. The Germany international rolls the ball into the path of Kevin Volland, but his powder-puff strike is straight at Ron-Robert Zieler.
OVER FROM ZUBER
Stuttgart break in numbers, with Nico Gonzalez leading the charge. After trying one step-over too many, he loops a ball across the box for Steven Zuber, but he's leaning back and can't keep his shot down.
Kai Havertz slips a lovely reverse pass in behind the Stuttgart defence. Julian Brandt is on it like a flash, but rifles his effort into the side netting. The signs are there - the pensive look on Stuttgart coach Markus Weinzierl's face says it all...
BAILEY ON THE PROWL
And there's that inviting ball into the path of Leon Bailey again. Bayer's No.9 attempts the silky flick over the head of the advancing Ozan Kabak, but the Stuttgart defender does his job. For a moment, it looked like he might have been in there.
LEVERKUSEN FINDING THEIR FEET
Useful spell of keep-ball from Leverkusen. They've offered little by way of a goal-scoring threat, but are beginning to play on their terms...
ESSWEIN HAS A CRACK!
Superb one-touch football from Stuttgart catches the Leverkusen defence cold. Daniel Didavi plays the killer final pass through for Alexander Esswein, whose ferocious strike from just inside the box is beaten behind by Lukas Hradecky. Ozan Kabak, on target against Nuremberg last weekend, is unable to steer the corner on target, though.
First real sign of life from the Leverkusen attack as Leon Bailey attempts to get on the end of a raking ball up from the back. It's got too much on it for the Jamaican, who applauds the idea all the same.
So close to the opening goal! Daniel Didavi's inswinging free-kick is a veritable defender's nightmare. The Stuttgart shirts are queueing up along the edge of the six-yard box, but Wendell gets there first. The ensuing corner comes to nothing, but this is encouraging stuff from the home side.
Nico Gonzalez puts on the afterburners to chase down a seemingly lost cause. The Argentine's turn of pace takes Jonathan Tah by surprise, and it's his strength rather than anything else that enables Leverkusen's man mountain to get a foot in to clear.
It looks like Stuttgart are lining up in a 3-5-2 formation, with the returning Daniel Didavi playing just off the shoulder of Nico Gonzalez. They're the legue's second-lowest goalscorers - will the change make the difference?
TEAMS IN FULL
Stuttgart: Stuttgart: Zieler – Kabak, Pavard, Kempf – Ascacibar – Beck (c), Esswein, Didavi, Castro, Zuber – Gonzalez Subs: Grahl, Insua, Baumgartl, Donis, Thommy, Sosa, Gomez Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz – Havertz, Brandt, Bailey – Volland (c) Subs: Özcan, Dragovic, Paulinho, Kiese Thelin, Alario, Jedvaj, Kohr
LEVERKUSEN TEAM NEWS
Leverkusen are unchanged, despite losing their last three Bundesliga matches in a row, shipping 11 goals along the way. Nineteen-year-old talisman Kai Havertz makes his 100th competitive appearance, having become the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 50 appearances roundabout the same time last season.
STUTTGART TEAM NEWS
Markus Weinzierl makes three changes to the side that fought back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Nuremberg last weekend. Midfielders Daniel Didavi - back in the starting line-up for the first time in two months - and former Leverkusen man Gonzalo Castro come in for Emiliano Insua and Anastasios Donis, while Nico Gonzalez is preferred in attack to Mario Gomez.
Top-six hopefuls Leverkusen are out to end a run of three straight losses, but that might be easier said than done against a VfB Stuttgart side fighting for their Bundesliga lives. Bayer can climb as a high as fifth with a in, while Stuttgart can put six points between themselves and the automatic drop zone following Nuremberg's draw with Schalke on Friday.
Welcome along to the match centre for the game Stuttgart vs. Leverkusen from matchday 29 of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season at the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Check back here for full information on the match.