Hanover - Bayer 04 Leverkusen ended their three-game losing streak courtesy of a 1-1 draw at Hannover 96's HDI-Arena.
Bayer 04's Bernd Leno denied Szabolcs Huszti from the penalty spot, before Gonzalo Castro's deflected effort gave Leverkusen the lead. Artjoms Rudnevs levelled within five minutes, but it was he who missed the best chance to win it in the dying stages of the contest.
Hannover were straight on the offensive, with a marauding run and low cross from Mame Diouf nearly giving Rudnevs the chance to put the home side ahead. They had an even better chance to go in front when Roberto Hilbert fouled Christian Schulz in the penalty area inside five minutes, but Huszti was outwitted by Leno from the spot.
It was Hannover's first missed penalty in 19 attempts, but if anybody was going to snap that run, it had to be Leno: the Leverkusen custodian has now kept out five spot-kicks so far this season. That early let-off seemed to be the warning Leverkusen needed, with Heung-Min Son turning things up a notch and becoming increasingly involved down the left.
Hit and miss
An acrobatic effort from Leonardo Bittencourt preceded Leverkusen's best spell, which culminated in the opening goal. A poor throw out by Ron-Robert Zieler was intercepted and the ball found its way to Castro, whose shot took a wicked deflection on its way past the Hannover goalkeeper.
Leverkusen's lead lasted only five minutes, however, before Rudnevs was allowed to march through the midfield and squeeze an effort past Leno from 25 yards to level. Inspired by the livewire Bittencourt, the pendulum swung back in Hannover's favour and they ended the half in the ascendency, Andre Hoffmann hitting the post on the stroke of half time with Leno happy to grasp the rebound.
Bittencourt and Huszti were the creative outlets as Tayfun Korkut's men seized the initiative after the restart, with only the offside flag denying Rudnevs the chance to put them in front from close range.
Leverkusen's Sidney Sam made a succession of dangerous runs in response, but it was Hannover who came closest to winning it when Castro cleared off the line, before Rudnevs, teed up by the returning Didier Ya Konan, fired straight at Leno with the goal at his mercy.
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