Ömer Toprak scored his Bundesliga first goal in nearly four years against his former side to earn Werder Bremen a hard-fought point at Bayer Leverkusen, with Patrik Schick equalising late on.
Bremen have been far better on the road than at home this season and that trend looked likely to continue after the first-half showing at the BayArena. With Florian Wirtz rested, Moussa Diaby fired just wide early on after brilliantly nut-megging Milos Veljkovic with the first chance of the game, before Leon Bailey failed to connect with a cut-back from the Frenchman. Bremen were working with the counter-attack and set pieces, and almost took the lead when Josh Sargent stretched to tap home Ludwig Augustinsson's free-kick, but was unable to apply the finishing touch. Schick was kept quiet by former Leverkusen man Toprak through the first 45, with the home side’s No.14 restricted to less than 10 touches of the ball.
Bremen had the same game plan heading into the second half and made their next set piece count seven minutes in. Augustinsson's free-kick was met by Toprak at the near post, and he deftly flicked the ball beyond Lukas Hradecky. Peter Bosz made changes after the hour with Lucas Alario brought on and a change of tactic for the hosts, who were still struggling to break down Bremen's well-drilled backline. Leverkusen continued to push and finally found themselves level with 20 minutes to play. There was a VAR review for a possible handball against Alario in the build-up, but the goal eventually was given, with Schick's shot being deflected over his own line by Augustinsson. The home side continued to push, but couldn't find a way to earn a first win of 2021.
- Toprak scored his first Bundesliga goal for almost four years. His last came while playing for Leverkusen, against Hertha Berlin on 22 January 2017.
- Bremen have claimed 10 of their 15 total points so far this season on the road.
- Bayer have won only one of their last seven Bundesliga home games against Bremen - a 1-0 victory in December 2017, courtesy of an Alario goal.
- Werder are unbeaten in the six matches that Veljkovic has started for them in the Bundesliga.
- Leverkusen have gone three games without a win for the first time in the Bundesliga this season.
Leverkusen: Hradecky - Dragovic, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (L. Bender 61') - Amiri, Baumgartlinger (c), Demirbay - Bailey, Schick, Diaby (Alario 61')
Unused subs: Grill, Lomb, Jedvaj, Wendell, Onur, Gedikil, Türkmen
Out: Aranguiz (Achilles tendon), Arias (ankle), Bellarabi (hand), S. Bender (knee), Palacios (back), Paulinho (knee), Weiser (thigh), Wirtz (rested)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Bremen: Pavlenka - Veljkovic, Toprak, Friedl - Gebre Selassie (c), Mbom, Eggestein, Möhwald (Schmid 81'), Augustinsson - Chong (Selke 60') - Sargent (Füllkrug 81')
Unused subs: Kapino, Bittencourt, Agu, Moisander, Gruev, Dinkci
Out: Erras (muscular), Groß (muscular), Osako (not included), Rashica (match fitness)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt