Facing a potentially hazardous Matchday 12 encounter against high-flying Leipzig, the Werkself were forced to work hard on an afternoon of potential pitfalls. Not many sides fight back when striking terror Timo Werner tilts the advantage in his team’s favour. Yet Bayer did just that, Jamaican Bailey bringing relief to the BayArena thanks to his fourth Bundesliga goal of the season, his fifth in all competitions.
Watch: Leon Bailey - Leverkusen's shooting star!
The 20-year-old attacker’s morale rarely falters and he has now had a hand in a Leverkusen goal once every 115 minutes this term, the former Racing Genk schemer also weighing in with two assists. Bailey’s teammates drew on his infectious spirit later in a classic contest when they dragged themselves from a man and another goal down after Benjamin Henrichs saw red for a deliberate handball and Emil Forsberg stroked home Leipzig’s second spot-kick of the day.
Pressing hard despite their numerical disadvantage, the hosts deservedly drew level once more when Kevin Volland made it seven goals for the campaign with a smart volley in the closing stages. "Until the very end, I really believed and hoped that we would win the match," head coach Heiko Herrlich said after seeing his side make it four draws and three wins in their last seven outings.
“After going down to ten men and falling behind for the second time, the team showed incredible spirit [to fight back],” the 45-year-old tactician continued. “In the middle of the second half we had some strong momentum and wasted two big chances before our second equaliser. Had we converted those opportunities, we would have prevailed.”
Yet for a side that started 2017/18 with three defeats in five Bundesliga matches, a point gained in this manner will likely feel like a victory for Leverkusen, who seem certain to rise from their current position of ninth in the coming weeks.
A trip to Eintracht Frankfurt awaits Bayer Leverkusen next week, and with it a chance for Bailey, Volland, Herrlich and Co. to test their unbeaten sequence against the Eagles, who are themselves five games without loss. Whatever the outcome from that game, we’re in for more high drama when proceedings commence at the Commerzbank Arena.