Bayer 04 Leverkusen missed a late penalty as they were held to a 1-1 draw by newly promoted SC Freiburg.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-1 SC Freiburg
The big news for the home side coming into the game was the return of star striker Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, but the Mexican, without a goal in 366 minutes before the game, struggled to impose himself on the game early on. Bayer dominated possession but created little, and they were punished on the half-hour mark when Janik Haberer netted a scrappy opener from Vincenzo Grifo’s corner.
The second half began in much the same fashion, with Freiburg compact and disciplined in defence. The frustration of the home fans was evident when Chicharito glanced a header wide, but they were celebrating moments later when Hakan Calhanoglu blasted home an equaliser after great work from Julian Brandt.
Both sides looked for a winner as the match entered its closing stages, and it was Leverkusen to whom a golden chance fell to wrap up the points, Onur Bulut fouling Wendell to concede a penalty. Up stepped Chicharito, but his weak spot-kick was saved, leaving Leverkusen to contemplate a fourth game without a win in all competitions.
Seldom in his career has Chicharito endured such a goal drought. His last goal – against Borussia Dortmund on 1 October – was 11 matches ago, and his lack of success in front of goal is certainly a contributing factor to Die Werkself’s patch form of just five wins in 13 league games.
- Haberer’s goal was his first in the Bundesliga.For the first time in five and a half years, Leverkusen did not manage a shot on goal in the first half of a league game.Calhanoglu has now scored in two games running for the first time for Leverkusen, and now boasts more goals this season (four) than he managed in the entirety of 2015/16 (three).
Leverkusen:Leno – Henrichs (Da Costa 46’), Jedvaj, Dragovic, Wendell – Brandt (Kießling 90’), Aranguiz, Kampl, Havertz (Pohjanpalo 56’) - Calhanoglu, Chicharito
Coach: Roger Schmidt
Freiburg: Schwolow – Kübler (Ignjovski 72’), Gulde, Soyuncu, Günter - Stenzel, Frantz, Schuster (Bulut 85’), Grifo – Haberer (Petersen 81’), Niederlechner
Coach: Christian Streich