Pohjanpalo hat-trick seals win against HSV

Joel Pohjanpalo secured victory in the first home game of the season for the Werkself. In a frenetic final stage of the game the Finn came off the bench, three days before his 22nd birthday, to score three goals in 15 minutes against Hamburg SV.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

The youngster was the match winner in a deserved 3-1 victory against the North German side to the evident delight of a sold-out BayArena.

When coach Roger Schmidt sent Pohjanpalo on in the 72nd minute the scoreboard showed the the visitors 1-0 up. After just seven minutes on the pitch the young Finn – as in the 2-1 opening defeat at Borussia Mönchengladbach – scored to put Bayer 04 back on level terms at 1-1. There was more to come in the four minutes of added time when the 21-year-old added another two goals to seal a memorable 3-1 victory.

Schmidt's team found it hard going for much of the game in terms of breaking down a compact Hamburg defence. The Leverkusen coach made four changes to his starting line-up from the Gladbach game: Chicharito, Bender, Henrichs and Mehmedi came in for Volland, Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger and Jedvaj. The manager was forced to make an early change after Karim Bellarabi went down seconds after kick-off in his first sprint. The Germany international went off with a groin problem to be replaced by Julian Brandt.

The Olympic silver medal winner had the first chance of the game on four minutes but like his teammates he found it impossible to assert himself in midfield against a well-organised Hamburg side. There were few chances at either end in the first half. The most impressive player was Mehmedi and, with 37 minutes on the clock, he met a Calhanoglu free kick with his head but his effort ended up in the arms of the visitors keeper René Adler.

The Werkself had more of the game in the second half but came unstuck outside the Hamburg box. Kevin Kampl (47') and Calhanoglu (56') tried long-range efforts without success. HSV went one better on 58 minutes when they opened up the Leverkusen defence on the break: Gregoritsch played a perfect pass into the path of Wood who evaded Bernd Leno's sliding tackle to tuck the ball into the back of the empty net on 58 minutes to give the visitors a surprising lead.

The Werkself upped their game and, driven on by the impressive Kampl, the number of attacks increased: However, Benjamin Henrichs just missed the target on 59 minutes and a Chicharito shot hit the post four minutes later. Ten minutes later Schmidt brought on a fresh striker in the shape of Pohjanpalo and that proved to be a master stroke with the Finn right on top of his game. Kampl passed, Brandt crossed and the striker headed in the leveller. On 91 minutes he converted a Henrichs cross with a smart shot into the corner leaving Adler with no chance – 2-1 to the Werkself. But he wasn't finished: Just three minutes later the 21-year-old rounded off a counter-attack to make it 3-1. That was the end of proceedings and the BayArena went wild in celebration.

The Werkself are in action in the Champions League on Wednesday (20.45 CET) in a home game against CSKA Moscow. The next league fixture for Bayer 04 is on Saturday afternoon away to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Leno - Henrichs, Tah, Toprak, Wendell (Jedvaj 88’) - Kampl, Bender - Bellarabi (Brandt 3’), Mehmedi (Pohjanpalo 72’) - Calhanoglu, Chicharito

Hamburg SV: Adler - Sakai, Cléber, Spahic, Ostrzolek - Hunt, Holtby (Ekdal 66’) - N. Müller, Gregoritsch, Kostic (Halihovic 86’) - Wood (Lassoga 81’)

Goals: 0-1 Wood (58’), 1-1 Pohjanpalo (79’), 2-1 Pohjanpalo (90+1’), 3-1 Pohjanpalo (90 +4’).

Booked: Tah, Kampl - Hunt

Referee: Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden)

Attendance: 30,210 (sell-out)

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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