Kai Havertz became the second-youngest player in Bundesliga history to score 25 goals as Bayer Leverkusen overcame newly promoted Paderborn 3-2 in a pulsating opening-day clash at the BayArena.
Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Paderborn
Goals: 1-0 Bailey (10’), 1-1 Michel (15’), 2-1 Havertz (19’), 2-2 Mamba (25’), 3-2 Volland (69’)
After finishing fourth last season, a home game against a promoted side might have provided the ideal start for Leverkusen, but a breathless first half was anything but straightforward. Paderborn pressed and harried with menace, carried a devastating threat on the break and were fully deserving of parity at the interval. Leon Bailey had opened the scoring from close range but the visitors were level when Sven Michel, scorer of ten goals last term, opened his Bundesliga account with a neat left-foot finish beyond Lukas Hradecky to equalise.
Havertz then announced himself on the 2019/20 scene with a sumptuous lob over the advancing goalkeeper to put Bayer back in front, only for Streli Mamba to make it 2-2 with only 25 minutes played. The forward slammed home a rebound after Michel’s shot had been handled on the goal-line by Wendell, the Brazilian receiving a yellow card for the infringement.
In the second half the hosts continued to dominate the ball with Paderborn looking to break, and as the visitors appeared to tire, Leverkusen seized the initiative again with Volland tapping home after a flowing team move. Steffen Baumgart’s team rallied valiantly but lacked the sharpness in their passing that they displayed in the first half, and Bayer missed several good chances to win by a greater margin. A heavier defeat would have been harsh on Paderborn, however, who more than played their part in a fantastic match on their return to the big league.
Watch: Havertz's attacking masterclass unlocked
- Havertz has scored in six games in a row stretching back to last season and is also the second-youngest player after Horst Koppel to score 25 Bundesliga goals.
- Bailey scored Leverkusen’s first goal of the season for the second year in a row.
- Bayer have now scored in 17 Bundesliga games in a row, their last blank coming in a 1-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach in January.
- Both Michel and Mamba scored debut top-flight goals with their very first shots on target.
- The only previous Bundesliga encounters between these two clubs came in 2014/15. The match in Leverkusen ended 2-2.
- Captain Christian Strohdiek and Uwe Hünemeier are the only current Paderborn players who featured in the last Bundesliga meeting, while Karim Bellarabi and Wendell are the only Leverkusen survivors from that 3-0 win in Paderborn in March 2015.
Leverkusen: Hradecky – L. Bender (c) (Dragovic 46'), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Baumgartlinger (Bellarabi 63'), Aranguiz - Havertz, Demirbay, Bailey (Alario 88') - Volland
Unused subs: Özcan, Retsos, Paulinho, Amiri, Jedvaj, Diaby
Out: Weiser (foot), Pohjanpalo (ankle)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Paderborn: Huth – Dräger (Zolinski 84'), Hünemeier, Strohdiek (c), Collins – Pröger (Holtmann 71'), Gjasula, Vasiliadis, Antwi-Adjei – Michel, Mamba (Oliveira Souza 60')
Unused subs: Ratajczak, Ritter, Shelton, Kilian, Jans, Kapic
Out: Dörfler (knock), Schonlau (foot), Zingerle (shoulder)
Coach: Steffen Baumgart