Cologne - Bayer 04 Leverkusen and VfB Stuttgart were held by Eintracht Frankfurt and SC Paderborn 07 respectively, but FC Augsburg ended 2014 on a high courtesy of a 2-1 win at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
bundesliga.com rounds up the Matchday 17 action...
Karim Bellarabi rescued a late point for Bayer 04 Leverkusen at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
The visitors looked the likely winners after leading goalscorer Alexander Meier had given them the lead with a 37th-minute penalty, but a dominant Leverkusen side fought back to secure a point eight minutes from time.
Meier cool as ice
Leverkusen started promisingly and enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the opening stages, although chances were proving extremely difficult to come by for the hosts against a deep-lying Eintracht defence. Hoping to beat their hosts on the break, Frankfurt gave Bayer keeper Bernd Leno a first serious warning 28 minutes in through Lucas Piazon's long-range effort. The visitors took the lead nine minutes later when Meier slotted in his 13th goal of the season from the penalty spot after Takashi Inui had been fouled inside the box by Tin Jedvaj.
Bayer emerged for the second half in positive spirits, upping the pressure in an attempt to find a way past the guests' solid back-four. Bellarabi fired an effort wide on the hour mark before Heung-Min Son twice came close to finding an equaliser, his 14-yard effort flying past the right post before Alexander Madlung did brilliantly to deny the South Korean once more. Frankfurt, meanwhile, weren't without their chances, Bastian Okzipka and Inui both going close on counterattacks, but Bellarabi eventually brought his side level with a fine strike from the edge of the box to rescue a deserved point for Leverkusen.
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FC Augsburg 2-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
FC Augsburg bounced back from losing their last two games to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 and round off their best ever Hinrunde with three more points.
Gladbach made a flying start at the SGL-Arena with Max Kruse putting them in front from the penalty spot after Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker handled the ball inside the area. Markus Feulner brought the hosts back on terms before Raul Bobadilla halted Augsburg's slide with the winner against his former club.
Gladbach launched their first attack right from the kick-off, earning a corner which was to have dire consequences for die Fuggerstädter. Callsen-Bracker raised his arm to block the ball and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Kruse outsmarted Alex Manninger to give the Foals an early lead, but Augsburg hit back ferociously. A precise pass from Markus Feulner found Alexander Esswein, whose cross eventually landed back at Feulner's feet. The former FC Bayern midfielder's shot struck the inside of the left-hand post on its way in for his first of the season.
Six minutes into the second half, a mistake by Tony Jantschke allowed Esswein to cross for Bobadilla to drill a 12-yard shot into the top left-hand corner and give Augsburg the lead for the first time in the game, only moments after Manninger had denied former Augsburg forward Andre Hahn. The 24-year-old then had Yann Sommer to thank for preventing him from scoring an extraordinary own goal, before Bobadilla flashed another effort just centimetres wide of the right-hand post. Alvaro Dominguez brought a save out of Manninger at the other end, but Augsburg held on to secure all three points.
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VfB Stuttgart 0-0 SC Paderborn 07
VfB Stuttgart and SC Paderborn took a point each on their final appearance of 2014 as the two teams fought out a goalless draw at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich had to be at his best to keep a courageous Paderborn side at bay while Daniel Didavi impressed on his return to the Stuttgart side, but in the end there was nothing between the two sides.
Around 55,000 fans responded to Huub Stevens' call to fill the Mercedes-Benz-Arena, but the proverbial 12th man appeared to be on Paderborn's side as the visitors once again produced their fearless brand of football to threaten Ulreich's goal. The Stuttgart custodian was beaten by Moritz Stoppelkamp, whose shot went just wide, before the hosts almost took the lead against the run of play when Daniel Brückner headed against his own post.
Ulreich was soon back in the spotlight in the second half to push a Uwe Hünemeier header behind as the East Westphalians continued to set the tone in Baden-Württemberg. Stuttgart were growing increasingly reliant on the innovation of Didavi, back in the side after an injury break, although he was unable to go the distance and was replaced by Moritz Leitner. Andre Breitenreiter brought on Elias Kachunga in a bid to spruce up his attack, but there was no sign of a goal as both sides ended 2014 with a point.
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