The Werkself certainly made their mark up front in the opening 15 minutes. The best chance fell to Patrik Schick from a counter-attack but the 25-year-old was unable to control the ball when he received it – TSG keeper Oliver Baumann intervened to grab the loose ball (2'). The impressive away keeper was helpless on 37 minutes: Moussa Diaby provided an exemplary cross for Schick who had a tap-in at the far post. In the second half, the Czech Republic international once again demonstrated his evident qualities as a striker: Piero Hincapie put the ball into the penalty area from the left for the 6 foot 3 striker to head the ball into the top corner (63').
The Black and Reds wanted to avoid a thrilling end to the game and looked for the third goal but Baumann had something to say about that. First, the Hoffenheim keeper saved a Wirtz header (70') and then he was in the right place to keep out a powerful shot from Diaby from a tight angle (71'). The Hoeneß team then sensed their chance and actually hit back: First, substitute Angelo Stiller (80') and, three minutes later, fellow substitute Munas Dabbur scored the equaliser with a back-heel (83') – 2-2 and that was the final score: HERE is the match report.
Defender Jonathan Tah was visibly disenchanted speaking to Bayer 04 TV after the final whistle. "We gave away two points, that was unnecessary," said the disappointed 25-year-old about the result and he added: "Sometimes it’s simply too difficult to explain why we don't get it right. I think we managed to remain aggressive and active for a long time. However, we were not compact enough up to the final whistle." Captain Lukas Hradecky did not mince his words. "We can't throw away the last home game of the year like that," complained the keeper. That was not due to a lack of mentality, "but we were just too soft."
Head coach Gerardo Seoane said after the game that Hoffenheim are currently one the most in-form teams in the Bundesliga. "We have to pay tribute to that," explained the Swiss coach. "When you're leading 2-0 on eighty minutes and end up drawing 2-2 then you are obviously disappointed." Nevertheless, from his perspective, the team made "a step forwards" compared with the last two matches. "We don't have to reproach ourselves," added the coach, "that we didn't score the third goal from the many counter-attacks."
The Werkself youngster Florian Wirtz has set the next record. His inclusion in the starting line-up on Wednesday made the midfielder the youngest Bundesliga player with 50 appearances. At the age of 18 years and 226 days, he goes ahead of the previous record holder Giovanni Reyna – the Dortmund player was 35 days older for his half century. Wirtz is also in top spot in the club rankings: Previously, Kai Havertz (18 years, 307 days), was the youngest Bayer 04 player to achieve that milestone. And Patrik Schick can also call himself a record breaker since Wednesday. The Czech Republic striker netted another brace against Hoffenheim and his goal to make it 2-0 was his sixteenth in the first half of the season – a new Werkself record. The previous best was achieved by Ulf Kirsten with 14 goals before the halfway mark. Moreover: Schick has scored the last eight Bayer 04 goals.
Karim Bellarabi reached a second milestone on the night. The 31-year-old played his 200th Bundesliga match for the Werkself against TSG. The winger almost rounded off this achievement with a goal: Bellarabi met a sharp cross from Diaby but he was denied by the brilliant reaction save from Oliver Baumann. Karim has an impressive record after 200 matches for Leverkusen: The Berlin-born player has scored 32 goals and provided 46 assists so far in his playing career.
As disappointing as the shared points are, a look at the statistics is worthwhile. Hoffenheim had 18 shots on Lukas Hradecky's goal and the Werkself had 16 efforts at the other end. Both teams were almost equal in terms of possession (45% vs 55%), challenges (43% vs 57%) and pass completion rate (both 82%). "Top game was on the tin, a top game was in it," declared TSG coach Sebastian Hoeneß after the final whistle and he probably hit the nail on the head. In addition, the team under head coach Gerardo Seoane again showed a reaction following the defeats against Ferencváros (0-1) and Eintracht Frankfurt (2-5) in the last two matches. Bayer 04 have not lost three games on the bounce under the Swiss coach.
"First Schick, then shock," was the headline in the BILD Zeitung and they identified a lack of experience with the Werkself "for the big game." Kicker witnessed an "attractive encounter between two skilful sides who go on the front foot early and engaged the opposition on their own penalty area." Leverkusen, according to the football journal, looked "like certain winners" but the "battling Hoffenheim team never gave up." The Leverkusener Anzeiger chose Patrik Schick as their best Bayer 04 player the mark of 1.5. And the performance of Florian Wirtz as the mastermind in the Werkself game was awarded a mark of two. "The record teenager was again involved in the most dangerous moves. A great through ball for the opening goal. Missed several chances," reported the local newspaper.
The Black and Reds play the last match of the year away to SC Freiburg on Sunday, 19 December (kick-off: 15.30 CET). Head coach Gerardo Seoane will have to manage without Moussa Diaby. The Frenchman, who has been involved in 16 goals this season (eight goals, eight assists), was shown a second yellow card in added time for a foul on Florian Grillitsch and he will therefore miss the clash in Freiburg. "It's important that we stand together now and that nobody points a finger at anybody," said defender Jonathan Tah after the match. Everybody has to look at themselves and see "what he can do better." The Germany international added, "Then it's important that we pick up points in the last match to go into the winter break in a positive frame of mind."
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
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Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more