Leverkusen - Ten-man Bayer Leverkusen got the better of Fortuna Düsseldorf in an exciting Rhine derby that saw the hosts run-out deserved 3-2 winners.
Nando Rafael drew his side level to cancel out Sidney Sam's coolly-taken opener, before Andre Schürrle restored the home side's lead 71 seconds later. Gonzalo Castro made it 3-1, despite substitute Simon Rolfes' red card, with Adam Bodzek's emphatic hit four minutes from time ensuring a frantic finale at the BayArena.
Unsurprisingly, given their 2-1 victory against Bayern Munich last time out and streak of six unbeaten games, Leverkusen started confidently, with Schürrle, Stefan Kießling and Manuel Friedrich sending early warning shots the way of Fabian Giefer. The game opened up as both sides pressed forwards, with Tobias Levels slamming wide from range.
However, die Werkself's dominance soon told when Kießling played in Sam, who sent a beautiful chipped effort over the goalkeeper for 1-0. Schürrle could have doubled his side's lead, but failed to get the better of Giefer, with the Fortuna stopper pulling off a superb reaction save.
Goals at each end
Despite their dominance, the hosts were caught cold five minutes before the interval as defender Ömer Toprak inadvertantly deflected Rafael's header into the back of the net. The hosts took little over a minute to respond, though, with Schürrle tapping in from the edge of the six-yard box to put Bayer ahead before half-time in harmony with the run of play.
Düsseldorf tightened up after the restart, restricting the space in midfield for Schürrle and Co. to work their magic. Dani Schahin benefitted from a defensive mix-up, but passed up the chance to level by shooting wide of the post.
Luck appeared to have turned Düsseldorf's way after the hour-mark, as Leverkusen were reduced to ten men following Rolfes' challenge on Bodzek, but remarkably it was the hosts who instead stretched their lead. Castro rounded off some excellent work from Daniel Carvajal, and would have added to his tally moments later, but for Giefer's heroics.
Downtrodden for much of the contest, Düsseldorf pulled one back courtesy of Bodzek's 86th-minute rocket, and came agonisingly close to completing the trick as Gerrit Wegkamp and Ken Ilsö squandered glorious opportunities to rescue a point.
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