Leverkusen – Bayer 04 Leverkusen were forced to come from behind to beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at home on Saturday afternoon, turning on the style in the second half to win 2-1 at the BayArena.
Hoffenheim began extremely aggressively, eager to make amends following their 2-0 defeat to 1860 Munich in the DFB Cup first round last week. Markus Gisdol’s men pressed their hosts high up the pitch and soon broke the deadlock, Steven Zuber prodding home from Eugen Polanski’s excellent through-ball.
Despite Hoffenheim’s dominance and aggression, Leverkusen equalised just before the break when Stefan Kießling fired in the rebound after Oliver Baumann spilled Wendell’s shot. The hosts were stronger after the interval and deservedly edged in front when substitutes Admir Mehmedi and Julian Brandt combined superbly for the latter to score. Mehmedi and Kießling missed further chances to put the result beyond all doubt, but it mattered little in the end as the UEFA Champions League aspirants picked up all three points.
Man of the match
Leverkusen were out of sorts in the first 45 minutes but were a changed side after the interval, thanks in large part to Karim Bellarabi. His pace, trickery and direct running unsettled Hoffenheim and pegged them back into their own half. The 25-year-old’s crosses from the right were also a constant danger, and with better finishing on the end of them the hosts would have won by a bigger margin.
Kießling’s goal took his overall Bundesliga tally to 136, meaning he pulls level with Germany legend and current U-21 coach Horst Hrubesch in 18th in the league’s all-time top scorers chart. Furthermore, Kießling has now scored in Matchday 1 in each of the last four seasons, and has hit seven goals in his last six games against Hoffenheim.
"Awesome! We started the new season with three points!" reads the tweet below:
Stats of the match
- Kevin Volland made his 100th Bundesliga appearance in this match – all of them for Hoffenheim.
- Leverkusen conceded at home for the first time in 544 minutes, having kept clean sheets at the BayArena since 14 February 2015.
- Last season Steven Zuber failed to score in 17 outings. In 2015/16 he only needed five minutes to net his first ever Bundesliga goal.
Quote of the match
Roger Schmidt, Leverkusen coach: "Given our passion and intensity it was clear to see how much we wanted to win this game. We created a lot of chances."
Line-ups and statistics