Bayer Leverkusen battled back to claim a vital point and frustrate Ingolstadt in an edgy relegation battle on Matchday 32.
Ingolstadt 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
The first 45 minutes were tight, tense and at times niggly, as befitting a clash between two sides desperate to get out of trouble. There were few clear-cut chances until, with less than 10 minutes to the break, Ingolstadt almost exploited Leverkusen’s weakness at set-pieces. Marcel Tisserand rose to connect with Pascal Groß’s corner, but Bernd Leno dropped smartly to his left to keep Leverkusen’s goal intact.
Stefan Kießling wasted a fine chance to score early in the second half, skewing his shot wide from close range after Julian Baumgartlinger’s pass had split Die Schanzer’s defence. The hosts finally provided a moment of magic when Sonny Kittel, who had replaced Mathew Leckie at the break, hooked in a brilliant volley from the edge of the box after a sublime touch to fool the Leverkusen defence. But the lead was short-lived, Kai Havertz nodding in Wendell’s corner from inside Ingolstadt’s six-yard box. Markus Suttner blocked Kevin Volland’s shot after the Leverkusen striker had rounded the keeper, and both sides had to settle for a point apiece.
Man of the match
Havertz showed experience and instinct beyond his tender years to make a crucial contribution that underlined just why he has made so many people sit up and take notice this season.
Both sides seemed weighed down by their positions in the table, and familiar weaknesses at either end of the pitch counted against them until Havertz’s intervention that left home fans crestfallen.
- Tayfun Korkut's side failed to score in the first half for the fifth game in a row.Kießling made his 334th appearance for Leverkusen, putting him third in Die Werkself's all-time appearance chart.Ingolstadt have kept just one clean sheet at home this season.
Ingolstadt: Hansen - Matip (c), Bregerie, Tisserand - Hadergjonaj, Cohen, Christiansen (Lex 85'), Suttner (Leipertz 90+2')- Leckie (Kittel, 46'), Lezcano, Groß
Coach: Maik Walpurgis
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno - Henrichs, Jedvaj, Dragovic, Wendell - Havertz, Aranguiz (Kampl 77'), Baumgartlinger, Mehmedi (Bailey 75')- Volland, Kießling (c)
Coach: Tayfun Korkut