STARTING IN STYLE
This will be the first time in six years that Leverkusen have started a new calendar year with a victory.
DEMIRBAY SHOT BLOCKED OVER
Leverkusen still pouring forward as Diaby lays the ball off to Demirbay to shoot and it's blocked behind for a corner which sees Alario force a save from Zingerle with a decent header at the back post.
Four shots on target today from Bayer. Four goals scored.
DIABY AND KAI DO THE BUSINESS
A fantastic goal on the counter-attack which should surely seal the win for Leverkusen. Volland wins the ball in midfield and sends Diaby away. He beats Holtmann for pace into the box and puts a fantastic ball towards the back post for Havertz, whose shot is deflected past Zingerle and into the net. His third goal of the season and a big confidence boost for the youngster.
LEVERKUSEN FINDING CONTROL AGAIN
Almost 10 minutes now since Paderborn's last opening on goal and Leverkusen are gathering more possession together and getting forward with it, too. This game is still far from over, though.
GOOD OPENING FOR SRBENY
It's a great ball inside from the left flank by Holtmann to find Srbeny into the box, but his first touch is a heavy one. Sinkgraven comes in with a big challenge and clears the attack away.
HAVERTZ CURLS WIDE
The attacking midfielder picks up possession 25 yards from goal and turns to run at the Paderborn box. He curls a shot from the edge of the box, but it's always going wide as Leverkusen begin to work their way back into this game.
SABIRI COMES ON
Can the talented young midfielder produce another of his stunning long-range goals to give Paderborn real hope of a comeback here in this second half?
HOLTMANN HAS A GO!
The substitute picks up possession in space in midfield and charges at goal. He fires a shot at goal from the edge of the box and Hradecky can only parry it, but is the first to the loose ball to gather it again. Paderborn all over Leverkusen here.
ANTWI-ADJEJ WITH A CHANCE
It was almost 2-3 in the space of just two minutes here in the second half. Pröger fires a low cross into the box and it runs through to the back post where Antwi-Adjej is waiting, but he sends his shot high over the crossbar from close range. Leverkusen haven't woken up yet in this second half.
Paderborn have a goal back at the start of the second half and we have a game on our hands again. Moments after Kai Pröger had forced a save, Paderborn continue the attack. Gjasula fires a shot from the edge of the box which is saved by Hradecky, but Srbeny is the quickest to the rebound to score his first Bundesliga goal just days after re-joining the club from Norwich City.
The second half begins in Paderborn and Gerrit Holtmann is on in place of Laurent Jans at the break for the home side.
NO ANSWERS SO FAR
Paderborn just haven't been able to get close enough to Leverkusen's talented attackers to stop them in motion thus far. Sven Michel is also isolated in attack and has been kept quite by Jonathan Tah and Sven Bender up to now. It's been a near-perfect performance from the away side, and Paderborn will need a big change in the second half to get anything from this game.
VOLLAND SHOULD HAVE A HAT-TRICK!
Leverkusen break again with the pace in their attack and Diaby is in the box on the left flank, and he sends a low cross to the back post with Volland charging into place. He slides to meet it, but can't get enough on the ball to send it over the line and it's cleared away by the Paderborn defence.
IT'S THREE IN THE FIRST HALF
Bellarabi curls a cross into the box from the right flank and Zingerle can only get finger-tips to it in an attempt to parry it away. It falls to Baumgartlinger at the back post and he neatly tucks it into the bottom corner with ease.
LEVERKUSEN STILL ON TOP
The visitors are enjoying 60 per cent of possession so far and have had five attempts on goal compared to Paderborn's one. Kerem Demirbay is having a beastly day in midfield and has already won 12 challenges himself. Double the best mark of Paderborn's best so far, six from Sebastian Schonlau.
RAIN POURING DOWN
The heavens have opened here in Paderborn which is only helping Leverkusen's slick play. The home side, though, won't mind the conditions at all either and are trying to push themselves back into this game. Hradecky has yet to need to make a save, though.
Kerem Demirbay and Kai Havertz are running the show here so far. The pair drifting in and out of position through the middle of midfield and are clearly the creative minds ticking this team along. As things stand, Leverkusen will go two points behind Dortmund and Schalke into sixth. A great start to 2020, but a long way to go in this game.
HEADING FOR GLORY IN 2020?
Before today, Leverkusen had only scored one headed goal all season and it came through Lucas Alario. Two have come already today and both from Kevin Volland.
ANOTHER VOLLAND HEADER!
Demirbay plays a free-kick into the box for Havertz to race onto. He reaches it just before the byline and clips the ball to the back post where Volland is waiting. He rises above Jans and powers a header into the back of the net for the second time in the space of three minutes. What a start for him and Leverkusen.
A LOVELY GOAL!
Leverkusen break quickly with Baumgartlinger firing a pass across the pitch to Diaby. He drifts inside and lofts the ball over the defence to meet Volland's run into the box and he heads the ball perfectly over Lingerle and into the bottom corner of the Paderborn net.
Huge opening for Leverkusen early on as Diaby's cross isn't cleared properly and Havertz has a shot at goal from the rebound, but his effort is blocked. It comes back out to Bellarabi and he has an effort blocked by Kilian as well. A bright start from the away side going forward.
AND WE'RE AWAY!
The final game of the first Bundesliga weekend of 2020 is underway.
THE RETURN OF KING KAI?
Havertz scored twice in one of Leverkusen's winter break friendlies in the last two weeks and is raring to go after recharging his batteries. Can he kick-start 2020 in style today?
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OBJECTIVE
Völler also stated Leverkusen's aim for the season, adding that it is an aim shared by several clubs at the top. "First of all, we want three points against Paderborn," he said. "We want to be in Europe again in 2020/21, preferably in the Champions League, but it's going to be very hard because I see Bayern, Leipzig and Dortmund leading the way, and our rivals in Mönchengladbach have got their heads in front at the moment. Then there's the threat from Schalke, Wolfsburg and maybe another surprise package."
RUDI EXPECTING CHALLENGES
Today's match is not going to be easy for Leverkusen, according to their sporting director Rudi Völler. He told the Westfalen Blatt: "We are warned. Paderborn have top quality players, a good attitude and they play a clear system, which is why I believe they are capable of staying up."
PADERBORN TEAM NEWS
Dennis Srbeny is straight back into the starting XI at the Benteler-Arena after returning to the club following a stint in England with Norwich City. The 25-year-old forward scored 15 Third Division goals during the club's promotion-winning campaign of 2017/18, and will be seeking his first in the Bundesliga.
LEVERKUSEN TEAM NEWS
With Leon Bailey and Wendell banned, Daley Sinkgraven deputises in defence to make only his fourth Bundesliga start, while Kevin Volland leads the attack.
Özcan, Lomb, Retsos, Dragovic, Amiri, Alario, Pohjanpalo, Weiser
Huth, Hünemeier, Strohdiek, Ritter, Sabiri, Kapic, Mamba, Zolinski, Holtmann
LEVERKUSEN STARTING XI:
Hradecky – L. Bender (c), Tah, S. Bender, Sinkgraven – Baumgartlinger, Demirbay – Bellarabi, Havertz, Diaby – Volland
PADERBORN STARTING XI:
Zingerle – Dräger, Killian, Schonlau (c), Jans – Pröger, Vasiliadis, Gjasula, Antwi-Adjej – Srbeny, Michel
The starting line-ups have been announced...
This is a clash of the two sides who, collectively, covered the most ground in the first half of the season. Paderborn may be bottom of the Bundesliga, but they are at the top of the distance league, having covered 1265 miles (2,035km) with Leverkusen just a couple of miles behind on 1263 (2,032km).
For Paderborn, the winter break probably came at just the wrong time, with a second win in four games giving them some upward momentum which they hope to carry into the new year with them.
Concluding this first weekend of Bundesliga action in 2020 is a tie between two sides pursuing completely different objectives. Paderborn, propping up the table with a deficit of six points on safety, know they will need to double their haul of 12 points from the first half of the season if they are to stand a realistic chance of staying up this season, while Leverkusen still have their sights set on Champions League football next season.
Welcome along to the match centre for the game Paderborn vs. Leverkusen from matchday 18 of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season at the Benteler-Arena. Check back here for full information on the match.