Kai Havertz's fifth goal of the season helped Bayer Leverkusen pick up all three points in a dramatic 3-2 win over Union Berlin in the German capital on Saturday.
Union Berlin 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Gentner (7'), 1-1 Havertz (22'), 1-2 Diaby (83'), 2-2 Bülter (87'), 2-3 Bellarabi (90+4')
Union wasted no time warming to proceedings and were just centimetres from going in front just three minutes in. Marvin Friedrich and Robert Andrich combined before the latter slipped Sebastian Andersson through on goal, but the Swedish forward dragged fractionally wide of Lukas Hradecky’s right-hand post. They didn’t have to wait long before taking the lead, however, as Christian Gentner let fly an absolute rocket into the top corner from 20-yards to open his Bundesliga account for the season in stunning fashion. Leverkusen offered little attacking threat early on but found themselves level midway through the first half as Havertz superbly lifted over Rafal Gikiewicz from captain Lars Bender's knockdown.
Die Werkself made a double change at the break, introducing both Charles Aranguiz and Moussa Diaby, but it was Die Eisernen that again started the better. Almost from kick-off, Yunus Malli found himself through on goal and was only denied by an excellent covering tackle. Chances were few and far between at both ends from then on, with neither side able to unlock the other for the majority of the second half. But a moment of magic from Kevin Volland teed up Diaby to put the visitors in front with just seven minutes remaining. It breathed new life into proceedings and the hosts were level just moments later courtesy of Marius Bülter's sublime effort. It looked to have secured a share of the spoils for his side until Karim Bellarabi snuck home a winner past Gikiewicz from the tightest of angles in injury time.
- It was Gentner’s first Bundesliga goal since 28 April 2018, when he again scored against Leverkusen, but for Stuttgart. Other than a goal in this season’s DFB Cup, his only other effort since then was for VfB against Union Berlin in the 2018/19 Bundesliga Relegation Playoff.
- It is only the second of Bülter's goal this season that haven't given Union the lead.
- Havertz's fifth Bundesliga goal of the season comes after 22 matchdays. During the same period in 2018/19, he had already scored nine times in the league.
- Volland’s also scored in the reverse fixture and now has five goals in five games against Union, having netted three in three Bundesliga 2 games for 1860 Munich against the Berlin outfit.
- Leverkusen won all four previous competitive matches against Union, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three. They have also lost just one of their last 10 games against promoted clubs (W8, D1).
- The win is Havertz's 50th in the Bundesliga in his 107th game. He reached the milestone at the age of 20 years and 249 days: only Julian Draxler (20 years, 232 days) and Christian Pulisic (20 years, 235 days) arrived at that landmark at a younger age.
Watch: Tapsoba: "Two games, two wins... I'm happy!"
Union: Gikiewicz - Friedrich, Schlotterbeck, Subotic (Polter 86') - Trimmel (c), Andrich, Gentner (Prömel 76'), Lenz - Malli (Ingvartsen 76'), Bülter - Andersson
Unused subs: Nicolas, Ujah, Reichel, Hübner, Kroos, Kade
Out: Gogia (fitness), Mees (thigh), Schmiedebach (abdominal strain), Becker (knock), Parensen (muscular)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Leverkusen: Hradecky - Tapsoba, Tah, S. Bender - Weiser (Aranguiz 46'), L. Bender (c), Amiri (Bellarabi 76'), Wendell - Bailey (Diaby 46'), Havertz - Volland
Unused subs: Özcan, Lomb, Dragovic, Demirbay, Alario, Palacios
Coach: Peter Bosz