Substitute Claudio Pizarro and a missed penalty late in stoppage time spoiled Tayfun Korkut’s first game in charge of Bayer 04 Leverkusen as SV Werder Bremen clawed out a point at the BayArena.
Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Werder Bremen
Leverkusen gave Korkut the best possible start to his reign, taking an early lead when Kevin Volland was alert enough to head in the rebound after Julian Brandt’s thunderous shot had crashed into the crossbar. Bremen gradually found a foothold in the match to carve out opportunities, but the hosts came closest to scoring before the break. Wendell forced a fine save out of Felix Wieldwald and Karim Bellarabi fired over the bar after he was picked out by a fine pass from Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.
Wieldwald’s foot denied Bellarabi early in the second half, but Benjamin Henrichs did well to deny Zlatko Junozovic and Florian Grillitsch in quick succession at the other end. Bremen kept pressing until Pizarro, on for barely a minute, deflected Robert Bauer’s shot in for the equaliser. Leverkusen were reduced to 10 men when Wendell was sent off, but in a dramatic conclusion Ömer Toprak spurned the chance to win it for Leverkusen. Wieldwald dropped to his right to save with the last action of the night and preserve a valuable point for Alexander Nouri’s side.
Man of the Match
Felix Wiedwald was certainly the hero for Werder Bremen in this game. The 26-year-old saved six of the seven Leverkusen attempts on his goal and also saved a penalty for the first time in the Bundesliga when he thwarted Toprak in injury time.
Toprak's failure to covert from the spot was the fifth time this season Bayer have missed a penalty in the Bundesliga. That's more than any other team.
- A third of Volland’s 36 Bundesliga goals have been to make it 1-0.Pizarro ended a 863 minute goal drought stretching back to May 2016.It was his 16th Bundesliga goal as a sub - only former Bayern player Alexander Zickler has more (18).
Leverkusen: Leno – Henrichs, Dragovic, Toprak (c), Wendell – Bellarabi (Havertz 63'), Kempl, Baumgartlinger, Brandt (Mehmedi 74') – Volland, Chicharito (Kießling 82')
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Bremen: Wiedwald, Gebre Selassie (Pizarro 77'), Sané, Moisander, Bauer, Veljkovic, M. Eggestein, Junozovic (c) (Kaintz 90+2'), Grillitsch (Delaney 67'), Kruse, Bartels
Coach: Alexander Nouri
Watch: Pizarro on his delight at finally scoring his first Bundesliga goal of the season: