Leverkusen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen produced a memorable comeback to beat VfB Stuttgart 4-3 in a thriller at the BayArena on Saturday afternoon.
Goals: 0-1 Harnik (50’), 0-2 Didavi (54’), 1-2 Bellarabi (58’), 1-3 Rupp (60’), 2-3 Boenisch (70’), 3-3 Hernandez (72’), 4-3 Mehmedi (89’)
A spring in their step after rescuing a dramatic draw against AS Roma in midweek, Leverkusen began confidently, although it was Stuttgart who came closest to an opener in the early stages when Daniel Didavi volleyed wide. Undeterred, the hosts remained on top and created several good opportunities as half-time approached, yet Javier Hernandez and Jonathan Tah could only fire over from close range as the sides went in level at the break.
It took five minutes of the second period for that to change, Martin Harnik poking in from close range after die Werkself failed to clear a set-piece. Didavi then found the net four minutes later, placing his shot calmly past a stranded Bernd Leno. Leverkusen pulled one back through Karim Bellarabi in the 58th minute, but two minutes later Stuttgart restored their two-goal advantage when Lukas Rupp converted after brilliant work from Timo Werner.
Leverkusen poured forward, pinning Stuttgart back and cut the deficit when Sebastian Boenisch was on hand to turn home Calhanoglu’s clever corner routine. The drama continued unabated when Hernandez rewarded his side’s persistence by restoring parity a minute later. Roger Schmidt’s men continued to press and completed their second dramatic turnaround of the week when Admir Mehmedi powered home two minutes from time to seal a vital three points.
Man of the match
While any of the hosts’ goalscorers would have been a justifiable choice as man of the match, including the impressive Hernandez, it was Mehmedi who shone brightest in Leverkusen’s attacking armoury. The Swiss international was a constant threat out wide and crowned his impresive display with the late winner.
This was a thrilling encounter which showcased the Bundesliga at its barnstorming best. While Leverkusen displayed all their attacking firepower, there remain question marks defensively after conceding seven goals in the last two games.
- Bellarabi scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.
- Hernandez’s goal was his second in the Bundesliga.
- Sebastian Boenisch’s strike was his first since April 2014.
- For the first time this season, seven goals came in a single half.
Leverkusen: Leno - Boenisch, Toprak (Papadopoulos, 67’), Tah, Wendell - Kampl, Calhanoglu - Brandt (Bellarabi, 57’), Mehmedi - Kießling (Yurchenko, 87’), Hernandez
Stuttgart: Tyton - Schwaab, Baumgartl, Sunjic, Insua - Rupp, Gruezo (Ferati, 46’, Risti, 79’) - Klein, Didavi, Harnik - Werner (Kliment, 85’)