Hanover - Bayer 04 Leverkusen maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a comfortable 1-0 win at Hannover 96.
After a cagey opening quarter to the game, the deadlock was broken in spectacular style by Bayer’s Hakan Calhanoglu, who dusted himself off after being fouled by Hannover’s Manuel Schmiedebach to curl a brilliant free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards.
The visitors had been involved in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, but there was no sign of rustiness from Roger Schmidt’s charges, and while possession was somewhat even, they enjoyed the better chances after the break, with Roberto Hilbert testing Ron-Robert Zieler and Calhanoglu also striking the woodwork.
Man of the match
In a game of relatively few chances, it was Leverkusen’s No 10 Calhanoglu that stood out from the crowd. As well as scoring the match-winner, the Turkey international struck the crossbar with another free-kick after the restart and showed a number of silky touches to help the Werkself control proceedings from start to finish.
They may have been narrowly beaten by SS Lazio in the first leg of their Champions League play-off, but Leverkusen’s solid start to the domestic season continues. The Rhinelanders were on top for long spells in this game and are now joint-top of the table with FC Bayern München. The two teams meet in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter at the Allianz Arena next weekend.
"1st free-kick of 2015/16, but far more important: played two, won two."
Stats of the match
- Calhanoglu is the undisputed free-kick king of the Bundesliga. The Turkey international’s first-half strike was his 11th goal directly from a set-piece in his 67th Bundesliga appearance, and he was the leading marksman from a dead-ball position in each of the last two seasons.
- For the first time in eight matches under coach Michael Frontzeck, Hannover have failed to score.