Elsewhere, SV Werder Bremen and fellow strugglers SC Freiburg remain in trouble at the foot of the table after sharing the spoils at the Weserstadion. bundesliga.com rounds up the action from around the grounds...
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-2 SC Paderborn
Bayer 04 Leverkusen were held to a pulsating 2-2 draw at home to ten-man SC Paderborn 07.
Leverkusen settled into the rhythm quickly, dictating possession, although goalscoring chances were extremely hard to come by for Roger Schmidt’s side against the coach’s former club. With the hosts lacking creativity in the final third, it was Paderborn who took a surprise lead at the BayArena, Koc benefitting from a Bernd Leno blunder to pass the ball into an open net (20’).
Unfazed by the visitors’ lead, Bayer kept up the pressure and should have pulled level when Hakan Calhanoglu teed up Stefan Kießling, who saw his effort diverted onto the post by Lars Kruse in the Paderborn goal. Leverkusen eventually made their dominance count three minutes before the break, however, with Kruse unable to hold onto Karim Bellarabi’s long-range effort and Bender slotting in on the rebound.
Bellarabi to the rescue
Leverkusen came into the second half with all guns blazing, Bellarabi sending a real rocket towards the Paderborn goal only seconds after the restart, shortly before Bender went close to doubling his tally of the afternoon from close range. Bellarabi was at the heart of most of the home side’s attacking play and he almost made it two for Bayer on the hour mark when he failed to finish off a brilliant solo run.
With Paderborn down to ten man following Marvin Bakalorz’s red card for a meaty challenge on Wellington, Bayer threw bodies forward in search of a late turnaround, allowing Paderborn more space. The guests managed to regain the lead three minutes from time, Moritz Stoppelkamp rounding Leno after beating Bayer on the break, but the home side managed to restore parity in the final minute thanks to Bellarabi’s skilful close-range finish.
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TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 FC Schalke 04
FC Schalke 04’s domestic inconsistency struck again during a 2-1 loss in Sinsheim to in-form TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who maintained their unbeaten run in the league.
After an excellent Revierderby victory over Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 6, Jens Keller’s Schalke side were aiming to build on that success and climb the table. Those aims were dealt a blow early by a hard-running Hoffenheim team that dominated the opening exchanges, culminating in Tarik Elyounoussi’s 13th-minute opener, brilliantly created by Kevin Volland and Roberto Firmino.
Szalai hits Schalke where it hurts
While both sides traded opportunities, it was always the hosts who looked to have more of a cutting edge, as demonstrated when former Schalke forward Adam Szalai found the net after Firmino capitalised on a loose ball in midfield. Julian Draxler and Atsuto Uchida led Schalke’s response before the break, but Hoffenheim’s deep-lying defence never looked as troubled as their visitors’ at the other end.
Schalke’s tentative attempts at reducing the deficit after half-time were always menaced by the threat of the Hoffenheim counter, Firmino almost adding a goal to his two assists in the 53rd minute, although the entrance of Tranquillo Barnetta from the Schalke bench gave Keller’s side more possession and creativity. The Swiss international was key in the visitors’ attempts to find a goal, but when Joel Matip received his marching orders in the 75th minute, the game was nearly up. Despite Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s 83rd-minute header reducing the arrears, it was never going to be enough to dent Hoffenheim’s unbeaten record.
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SV Werder Bremen 1-1 SC Freiburg
Both SV Werder Bremen and SC Freiburg remain winless after an end-to-end affair finished 1-1 in the Weserstadion.
It was Christian Streich’s Freiburg who bared their teeth earliest in this crucial clash at the bottom, with Vladimir Darida’s shot cleared off the line by Assani Lukimya after a mere three minutes, proving a portent of things to come. The Czech winger found the net five minutes later, converting his penalty coolly past Raphael Wolf to give Freiburg a deserved lead. It wasn’t to last, however, as Bremen, spurred on by a vociferous home support, pushed for the equaliser.
Di Santo hits back
It came in the 31st minute after a period of sustained pressure led by Eljero Elia and Franco di Santo. The Argentinian latched onto a through ball to gallop through the visitors’ defence and hammer his shot high into the top corner for his fourth goal of the season. While Freiburg were pinned back after their goal, Werder used the equaliser as the impetus to drive for another. Di Santo and Fin Bartels were particularly dangerous as the half drew to a close.
Bremen enjoyed the better of the opening stages of the second half, di Santo linking up well with Elia before drawing a fantastic save from Roman Bürki on the hour mark. Both sides then had chances to nick a first win, as Felix Klaus headed onto the post in the 69th minute, and di Santo had the ball in the net but was ruled offside eight minutes later. Ultimately, however, a lack of cutting edge in the second period prevented either side taking their first three points of the season.
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