There was no separating Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Schalke 04 on Sunday evening as the two Bundesliga giants played out a 1-1 draw at the BayArena.
The teams were level on points going into this game so it was little surprise that the early exchanges were rather evenly-balanced. As the match wore on, however, Leverkusen gradually asserted their dominance and began creating chances. Karim Bellarabi was the main instigator, hitting the bar following a wonderful run before Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez fizzed an effort across the face of the goal.
The hosts also started strongly after the break but it was Schalke who broke the deadlock when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting slotted in following a quick counterattack. Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt brought on Stefan Kießling to give his side further options up front and their pressure eventually paid off late on when Chicharito’s shot was saved by Ralf Fährmann, only to strike Schalke defender Sascha Riether and roll into the far corner. It was an unfortunate way for the visitors to concede, but the draw was a fair result on the balance of play.
Man of the match
Not only did Choupo-Moting score, the Cameroon international was also one of the liveliest players on the pitch. He covered over ten kilometres, tracked back frequently to help out in defence and was a menace up front too, having more shots on goal (three) than any of his team-mates.
The teams’ seasons continue to mirror each other. Both now have 21 points from 14 games, with six wins, three draws and five defeats apiece, while they have also both scored 18 goals.
- Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah was booked for the first time ever in this match, his 30th Bundesliga outing.
- Choupo-Moting’s goal was only the third time he has scored in a competitive goal in the 2015 calendar year.
- Kießling made his 300th Bundesliga appearance in this match.
Leverkusen: Leno – Donati, Tah, Toprak (c), Boenisch (Wendell 69’) – Kramer, Kampl – Bellarabi, Calhanoglu (Brandt 46’), Mehmedi (Kießling 57’) - Hernandez
Schalke: Fährmann – Riether, Höwedes (c), Matip, Aogo – Sane, Goretzka (Kolasinac 78’), Höjbjerg (Neustädter 83’), Meyer (Di Santo 88’) – Choupo-Moting, Huntelaar