Munich - Bayer 04 Leverkusen were made to work hard for their narrow win against FC Augburg, while Roberto Firmino was at the double as 1899 Hoffenheim thrashed nine-man Hannover 96 in an high-octane encounter at the HDI Arena.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-1 FC Augsburg
Elsewhere, 1. FSV Mainz 05 ended their streak of six winless top flight matches courtesy of a home win against newly-promoted Eintracht Braunschweig.
Simon Rolfes and Emre Can helped Bayer 04 Leverkusen to hard-earned 2-1 victory over FC Augsburg at the BayArena.
Following on from their impressive outing in Wednesday's 4-0 victory against FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League, Leverkusen began confidently, looking the more threatening side in the first half. Heung Min Son's long-range effort almost gave Sami Hyypiä's men the lead after quarter of an hour, but the home side were lucky not to get caught cold a little later when his Korean compatriot Jeong-Ho Hong crashed a volley against the crossbar.
Andre Hahn did better shortly after though, skilfully volleying Tobias Werner's long ball into the far left corner for his second goal of the season. Bayer largely failed to make proper use of their dominance, lacking creativity in the final third, forcing them to rely on a set-piece situation to grab an equaliser, as Simon Rolfes got a foot on Sebastian Boenisch's header to send the teams in level at the break.
Kießling and Son going close
Leverkusen increased the pressure after the restart, forcing Augsburg on the back foot for most of the second half. Die Werkself should have taken the lead when last season's top goalscorer Stefan Kießling failed to beat Alexander Manninger in a one-on-one situation, while Son squandered the chance to steer the ball into an empty net on the rebound.
The hosts' efforts finally produced a winning goal seven minutes from time, however, as Can headed home Robbie Kruse's pin-point cross from the right for his first ever Bundesliga goal, keeping third-placed Leverkusen within touching distance of table-toppers FC Bayern München.
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Hannover 96 1-4 1899 Hoffenheim
1899 Hoffenheim recovered from Matchday 9’s defeat to Bayer 04 Leverkusen with a deserved 4-1 victory over nine-man Hannover 96 in a thrilling game at the HDI-Arena.
In a frantic opening spell, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Christian Schulz brought down Anthony Modeste in the area. Sejad Salihovic stepped up and powered his spot-kick down the middle to put Hoffenheim ahead inside the first ten minutes. It was hardly the start Hannover had in mind and things turned from bad to worse when Mame Diouf, who was booked for arguing with the referee after the penalty was awarded, received a second yellow card for simulation at the other end.
Markus Gisdol’s side then doubled their lead after 18 minutes when Kai Herdling’s header looped over Ron-Robert Zieler and into the back of the Hannover net. Their two-goal advantage was no less than Hoffenheim deserved and they could have gone into half-time further ahead had Salihovic’s free-kick not flown just over the crossbar. Modeste also had an opportunity to increase his personal tally of the season, but the Frenchman failed to hit the target with an effort from just outside the area.
Hoffenheim make numerical advantage count
Despite the visitors’ one-man advantage, Hannover started the second half in spirited fashion and got themselves back into the game soon after the break. Leonardo Bittencourt whipped in a free-kick from the right and Salif Sane rose highest to nod the ball into the back of Koen Casteel’s net via the post. Incredibly, Bittencourt almost found an equaliser moments later, only for Casteels to get a firm hand to the 19-year-old’s effort to turn it away from danger.
It was always going to be difficult for Hannover to restore parity with ten men, however, and Hoffenheim soon restored their two-goal advantage. Leon Andreasen lost the ball to Eugen Polanski in midfield, who released Roberto Firmino. The 22-year-old Brazilian kept his composure, firing low past Zieler for his sixth goal of the season. The hosts’ miserable afternoon was sealed moments later when Firmino grabbed his second of the game, before Marcelo was shown a straight red card moments later for remonstrating with the referee, as Hannover suffered their first loss on home soil this season.
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1. FSV Mainz 05 2-0 Eintracht Braunschweig
Shinji Okazaki's first-ever Bundesliga brace helped 1. FSV Mainz 05 to a 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig.
Mainz made it clear from the off they were intent on ending their run of six Bundesliga matches without a win, quickly settling into their rhythm at the Coface Arena. Okazaki made sure the home side's early efforts paid dividends after only eight minutes, doing extremely well in lobbing Junior Diaz's long ball over Daniel Davari in goal.
Okazaki, newly-signed from VfB Stuttgart in the summer, was the initiator of most of Mainz's promising action, and the Japanese forward came close to adding a second for Mainz near the half-hour mark when he saw his diving header saved by Davari. Cellar-dwellers Braunschweig were never going to give in, however, as Karim Bellarabi fired off a first warning just before the break.
Okazaki at the double
It took Mainz a while to find a way through the deep-lying visitors' defence in the second half, who came close to levelling matters against the run of play when Bellarabi tested Heinz Müller in goal. However, Okazaki soon doubled the home side's lead to put the game to bed, applying the finishing touches on a high-tempo counter-attack.
Braunschweig threw bodies forward in the final stages with half-time substitute Domi Kumbela going extremely close twice, but it was too little, too late for the promoted outfit from Lower Saxony, who remain bottom of the table.
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