Bayer Leverkusen were seconds away from defeat against Hannover at their BayArena before Karim Bellarabi came off the bench to score a late leveller – his first goal since August 2017.
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Hannover
Goals: 0-1 Muslija (25’), 1-1 L. Bender (34’), 1-2 Felipe (54’), 2-2 Bellarabi (93’)
Red cards: Felipe (57’)
Leverkusen had a gilt-edged chance to pull into the lead inside the first 10 minutes when Wendell’s free-kick was handballed in Hannover’s defensive wall, but the Brazilian’s resulting spot-kick was saved by Michael Esser. Julian Brandt was gifted another chance minutes later but he uncharacteristically let the ball get away from him with the Hannover goal at his mercy. Die Werkself’s profligacy was punished when Muslija curled home an unstoppable free-kick at the other end, but they were back on level terms before the half was out, Lars Bender doing a fine impression of a centre forward by chesting the ball down and volleying low across Esser into the far corner.
Hannover restored their advantage early in the second half, though. Felipe found himself unmarked at the back post after a poorly-cleared corner, and volleyed home a fine goal for 2-1. The big Brazilian went from hero to zero soon after, though, with referee Patrick Ittrich sending him of for a second bookable offence. Bobby Wood was replaced with Kevin Wimmer as the 96ers looked to defend their lead with 10 men, something they nearly managed, but Bellarabi cut inside and steered home a fine equaliser on his supposedly weaker left foot with the final act of the game, and it ended 2-2.
- Bellarabi scored his first goal since an August 2017 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim.Eight of Leverkusen’s last nine Bundesliga goals have been scored by midfielders.Leverkusen are now undefeated in 10 games against Hannover. The last time they lost to Die Roten was in December 2012. Bender is the only player to have featured in that match and this.Esser’s penalty save from Wendell was the third spot-kick he has stopped in the Bundesliga, and first for Hannover.Muslija now has two goals in as many Bundesliga starts for Hannover.Felipe hadn’t scored since finding the target against Schalke way back in August 2012.
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Weiser (Bellarabi 75’), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – L. Bender (c), Kohr (Kiese Thelin 64’) – Brandt, Havertz, Volland (Bailey 75’) – Alario
Unused subs: Özcan, Dragovic, Jedvaj, Schreck
Absentees: Aranguiz (knee), Baumgartlinger (ankle), Pohjanpalo (ankle), Retsos (fitness)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Hannover: Esser - Elez, Anton (c), Felipe - Haraguchi, Schwegler (Bakalorz 81'), Walace, Albornoz – Muslija (Ostrzolek 68’) – Wood (Wimmer 61’), Füllkrug
Unused subs: Tschauner, Asano, Fossum, Weydandt
Absentees: Hübers, Maina, Prib (all knee)
Coach: Andre Breitenreiter