Kevin Volland scored a brace for Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday, but Kai Havertz was the team's hero after netting a late winner in a 3-2 victory away to a struggling Hannover side.
Goals: 0-1 Volland (13'), 0-2 Volland (28'), 1-2 Jonathas (51'), 2-2 Weiser (o.g. 73'), 2-3 Havertz (87')
The heavy snowfall at the HDI Arena made for trying conditions - the orange match ball even had to be used - but Leverkusen adapted better early on and went ahead inside a quarter of an hour when Volland tapped in at the back post after Julian Brandt's shot had been saved. Volland doubled his side's lead shortly afterwards, chipping in superbly from Brandt's through-ball. The hosts almost pulled a goal back when Genki Haraguchi rounded Lukas Hradecky and stroked the ball towards the empty net, but it slowed up dramatically in the snow, allowing Jonathan Tah to rush back and clear off the line. The flow of the game subsequently suffered somewhat as the action was interrupted while the pitch was cleared of snow and there were no further goals before the break.
That changed within minutes of the restart as a much-improved Hannover side pressed their visitors much more aggressively and pulled a goal back when Jonathas out-jumped Tin Jedvaj at the back post to steer a powerful header into the bottom corner. The home team got the equaliser their bolder approach deserved in the 73rd minute when Hradecky's save from Hendrik Weydandt's header ricocheted off Mitchell Weiser and into the Leverkusen net. A point would have been useful for Hannover in their battle against relegation, but they were ultimately left empty-handed when Havertz arrived to head in Brandt's cross from the left and seal the win for Leverkusen.
Watch: Volland on Leverkusen's "extremely important" win
- Leverkusen have now scored at least twice in their last seven consecutive Bundesliga games.
- Volland grabbed a brace for the third time this season. He now has 11 Bundesliga goals in 2018/19.
- The in-form German striker is now the club's top scorer this term and has five assists and five goals so far in 2019.
- Tah made his 100th Bundesliga appearance for Leverkusen here, while Jedvaj made his 100th competitive outing for the club.
- Jonathas' goal was his second of the season. Like his first, it was a header from a Haraguchi cross.
- Hannover have now lost five of their six games under Thomas Doll and remain five points adrift of the relegation/promotion play-off place.
Hannover: Esser – Korb (Felipe 90'), Anton, Wimmer, Albornoz – Haraguchi, Bakalorz (c), Walace (Weydandt 46'), Schwegler, Maina (Muslija 68') – Jonathas
Unused subs: Sahin-Radlinger, Fossum, Müller, Bech
Out: Akpoguma (shoulder), Bebou (thigh), Füllkrug (knee), Hübers (knee), Ostrzolek (ribs), Prib (knee), Sarenren Bazee (shin), Sorg (suspended)
Coach: Thomas Doll
Leverkusen: Hradecky - Weiser, Tah, Dragovic, Jedvaj - Aranguiz (Kohr 61'), Baumgartlinger - Havertz, Brandt, Bailey (Bellarabi 66') - Volland (c)
Unused subs: Özcan, Paulinho, Kiese Thelin, Alario, Wendell
Out: L. Bender (thigh), S. Bender (head), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Retsos (thigh)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Watch: Hradecky: "I'll remember this game even after I retire"