Bayer 04 Leverkusen maintained their grip on second place with a hard-fought 1-0 win over 1. FC Nuremberg
Bayer 04 Leverkusen maintained their grip on second place with a hard-fought 1-0 win over 1. FC Nuremberg
Bundesliga

Bayer maintain upward trajectory

Leverkusen - Stefan Kießling opened the scoring for the sixth time this season as his ninth goal of the campaign proved to be the winner in Bayer 04 Leverkusen's hard-fought 1-0 victory over a dogged 1. FC Nuremberg side.

Tightly-contested throughout

Fresh from moving into second place during midweek, Leverkusen wasted little time putting themselves on the front foot with Hajime Hosogai and Stefan Kießling both forcing Rafael Schäfer into routine saves early on. Nuremberg began getting stuck in to unsettle Bayer, but unfortunately the visitor's profligacy in front of goal saw two golden chances go to waste as Timo Gebhart curled over before Sebastian Polter crashed a header off the underside of the crossbar.

Leverkusen heeded the warning and promptly opened the scoring as Andre Schürrle found an unmarked Kießling, who finished neatly on the turn to hand the hosts a narrow lead at the break. Die Werkself could have been out of sight, but Nuremberg emerged from the changing rooms with real purpose and soon began assuming control of the proceedings as Mike Frantz and Polter both spurned chances from promising deliveries.

While Bayer were intent on defending their lead, der Club's pursuit of an equaliser left them vulnerable to the counter-attack. Gonzalo Castro provided the biggest threat in front of goal as Schäfer twice denied the midfielder adding to the scoreline, before clawing Manuel Friedrich's powerful header off the line with time winding down. Nuremberg disappeared without a trace in the closing stages and, although Simon Rolfes rattled the woodwork with a late effort, Leverkusen were content consolidating second place with a professional one-goal victory.

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