Leverkusen - Javier Hernandez’s first Bundesliga goal gave Bayer 04 Leverkusen a narrow 1-0 win over 1. FSV Mainz 05.
Goals: 1-0 Hernandez (69’)
Desperate to a end a three-match losing streak, Leverkusen set their stall out to attack. Karim Bellarabi was a constant outlet on the right-hand side, while the pace and trickery of Hernandez and Kevin Kampl gave the Mainz back four plenty to think out. Hakan Calhanoglu saw a goal-bound effort deflected wide as the hosts turned the screw, before Bellarabi forced a routine save from Mainz custodian Loris Karius. A deflected Christoph Kramer cross had the Mainz stopper beaten on the stroke of halt time, but Niko Bungert was on hand to head clear off the line.
Karius got lucky again early in the second half after making a clumsy save from Calhanoglu. Leverkusen’s misfortune in front of goal appeared to give Mainz a momentary lift as Yunus Malli tested Bernd Leno, although the home side’s persistence eventually told as Hernandez’s weaving run and shot took a telling deflection off Calhanoglu on its way into the net. Leverkusen seized complete control from thereon in, with substitute Stefan Kießling striking the outside of the post and Kramer stinging the fingertips of Karius.
Man of the match
Leverkusen’s Hernandez was a ball of energy from the get-go at the BayArena. Aside from scoring the decisive goal that brings an end to a miserable run of form, the Mexican’s willing runs and sprightly movement in the final third appear tailor-made for a Bayer side that love to play on the break.
Leverkusen picked up a much-needed win, but they will need to be more ruthless in front of goal if they are to make another sustained challenge on the UEFA Champions League places: die Werkself had 20 shots on goal to Mainz’s three on Matchday 6.
Stats of the match
- Leverkusen ended a 410-minute barren spell in front of goal on Matchday 6.
- Hernandez is the fourth Mexican to score in the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen: Leno - Donati, Tah, Ramalho, Wendell - Bender (Papadopoulos 90’), Kramer - Kampl, Calhanoglu - Bellarabi (Mehmedi 80’) - Hernandez (70’)
Mainz: Karius - Brosinski, Bungert, Bell, Bengtsson - Baumgartlinger, Moritz (Latza 58’) - Clemens, Malli, De Blasis Jairo (72’) - Muto (Cordoba 81’)