Unbeaten league-leaders Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart share spoils in thrilling draw


Florian Wirtz cancelled out Chris Führich's opener as Bayer Leverkusen came from behind to draw 1-1 with Stuttgart at the MHPArena in a captivating top-of-the-table clash.

Stuttgart 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Führich 40' (assist: Vagnoman), 1-1 Wirtz 47' (assist: Boniface)

With Leverkusen looking to take advantage of Bayern Munich's 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and extend their advantage at the top of the table and Stuttgart eager leapfrog the Bavarians and move into second, there was plenty of the line for both teams prior to kick-off. However, while the visitors came into the clash yet to lose this term in all competitions, it was their opponents who had the better of the opening 45 minutes. Lukáš Hrádecký was a busy man throughout, first denying Chris Führich before producing impressive stops to deny Deniz Undav - twice - and Serhou Guirassy. In the end, though, it was Führich who broke the deadlock, tapping Josha Vagnoman's ball across the face of goal into an empty net. For Die WerkselfAmine Adli struck the woodwork, while Alexander Nübel needed to be alert to keep out Victor Boniface's low effort, but Xabi Alonso will have been disappointed with his side's first-half display, especially considering their form this term.

The Spaniard, however, will have been delighted with his side's response after the interval. Within two minutes of the restart, Leverkusen were back on level terms when Wirtz got on the end of Boniface's pinpoint pass, and they were almost in front moments later as Granit Xhaka struck hit the woodwork from distance. As the half progressed, both sides went in search of an equaliser, but their clinical touch in front of goal appeared to have left them as they struggled to created clear-cut chances. Angelo Stiller did have an effort from 20 yards saved by Hrádecký, while Leverkusen often found themselves in dangerous positions but were ultimately unable to find the required end product, with Jonathan Tah's fierce shot from a corner that flew just wide their best opening. At the end of an intense 90 minutes, a share of the spoils felt like a fair result. Leverkusen are now four points clear of Bayern, albeit having played a game more, while Stuttgart are a further point back having drawn for the first time in the Bundesliga this season.

Match stats

  • Stuttgart had 18 shots in the first half, their highest amount in a top-flight match since May 2007 - that came at their end of their last title-winning season.
  • All four of Führich's goals this season have come at home.
  • Stuttgart now haven't won at home to a Bundesliga leader in 12 attempts, in fact losing all of them, since a 4-1 win over Wolfsburg in May 2009.
  • Wirtz has scored four Bundesliga goals against Stuttgart, more than versus any other team.
  • Boniface is not only his side's top goalscorer in the league with eight goals, but he now also leads the way in terms of assists with six.
  • Leverkusen are now unbeaten in their previous 22 games in all competitions, the longest run of any side in Europe's top five leagues.

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Stuttgart: Nübel - Vagnoman (Rouault 85'), Anton (c), Zagadou, Mittelstädt (Stergiou 76') - Millot (Silas 66'), Karazor, Stiller, Führich (Leweling 77') - Undav (Jeong 85'), Guirassy
Unused subs: Bredlow, Stenzel, Haraguchi, Milošević
Out: Egloff (knee), Ito (muscular), Massimo (muscular), Nartey (knee)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß

Leverkusen: Hrádecký (c) - Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong, Palacios (Hincapié 84'), Xhaka, Grimaldo - Wirtz, Adli (Hofmann 65') – Boniface (Schick 73')
Unused subs: Kovář, Stanišić, Andrich, Amiri, Schick, Tella, Hložek
Out: Arthur (thigh)
Coach: Xabi Alonso

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