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3.11.2018Bundesliga

TSG put four past Bayer 04

Bayer 04 suffer a setback after two oustanding victories. The Werkself lost 4-1 to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the BayArena. Goalscorer Karim Bellarabi, who levelled at 1-1 (3'.), and Sven Bender had to be substituted due to thigh problems. Hoffenheim were very efficient in the their finishing and clinically exploited mistakes made by the hosts.
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Leverkusen were suitably fed up after the final whistle. "It's difficult to explain this result as we were the better team for much of the game in my opinion. Hoffenheim scored at exactly the right times," said the skipper Lars Bender. Jonathan Tah declared: "Little things cost us the game today. It's important to remain positive in spite of the result."

Why change things when everything's going right? Heiko Herrlich made just one change to the starting eleven compared to the last two wins at Werder Bremen (6-2) and Borussia Mönchengladbach (5-0): Tin Jedvaj replaced Aleksandar Dragovic in a back three after recovering from a thigh problem picked up in Wednesday's Cup game at Borussia Park. Julian Baumgartlinger was in the Bundesliga squad for the first time this season after suffering a torn knee ligament in the opening game of the season in the DFB Cup at Pforzheim.

impressive start with early chances

Hoffenheim were on their guard after the last two Leverkusen results – but were unable to prevent the first clear-cut chance for the Werkself. Bellarabi beat Kevin Akpoguma down the flank, whipped in a cross but Lars Bender's header fizzed just over the bar (3') – that could have the been the opener. Just after that, Kevin Volland was just offside with a man over in attack (6'). With an own goal by Kasim Adams, referee Tobias Stieler ruled it out as offside (10,) after Oliver Baumann had just parried a powerful Volland volley. The Werkself were lively and clearly full of confidence.

The visitors also had their chances. Jedvaj just managed to block off Reiss Nelson (13') and the shot from Florian Grillitsch flew over the target (15'). Then the Werkself were brought down to earth with a bump: Bayer 04 failed to defend a quick corner and Nelson scored with an unstoppable curler into the top corner to give TSG the lead (19'). That goal changed the course of the game somewhat and Hoffenheim put together some dangerous attacks that Jedvaj, Tah and their team-mates were able to deal with. And the Werkself hit back thanks to the outstanding player of recent matches: Karim Bellarabi, put through by Mitchell Weiser on the right wing and he took Baumann by surprise with  a powerful shot from a tight angle to equalise at 1-1 (30') – the seventh goal for the winger in the last five games.

Bellarabi goes off injured

Hoffenheim replied almost straight away. Pavel Kaderabek put in a precise cross from the right and Joelinton rose highest in the middle to head in the second goal for TSG with a well-placed header (33'). It was end-to-end from that point: Baumann punched a Bellarabi shot away, Julian Brandt missed the rebound. A bitter blow: Bellarabi had to go off due to a problem with his left thigh with Leon Bailey replacing the winger (38'). Bayer 04 went in at half-time a goal down shortly after that.

Sven Bender also injured

Heiko Herrlich had to make another change at the break: Sven Bender, who was also struggling with a thigh problem, did not reappear and he was replaced by Julian Baumgartlinger making his comeback after a long injury lay-off. The tactical set-up remained unchanged with the Austrian taking his place in the back three. Hoffenheim then struck a heavy blow: Tah stretched out a leg in the penalty area and brought down Joelinton with the resulting penalty converted by Vincenzo Grifo to make it 3-1 (48').

Now it was an uphill struggle for the Werkself. Bayer 04 quickly recovered and fought back immediately. Brandt failed to connect properly with a pass from Wendell (50'), Baumann saved a Kai Havertz effort from a tight angle (52') and he also turned a Volland header over the bar (53'). Baumgartlinger moved up the field and , Bayer 04 changed to a back four. Baumann also held on to a low drive from Havertz (57'). The Werkself had not given up hope but they needed to pull a goal back quickly.

Baumann centre stage

A Bailey free kick on course for the top corner was punched away by Baumann (62'), Volland's shot flew past the post (65'). Bayer 04 made a third change with Paulinho coming on for Brandt (67').  A Lars Bender volley was headed away by Adams (71'). Bayer 04 were the only team in the game and a Volland shot from close range was saved by Baumann (72'). Then came the final blow: Hoffenheim counter attacked, Joelinton beat Jedvaj and Lukas Hradecky was again left helpless – 1-4 (73'). Bayer 04 were still determined to score right to the end but were unable to find the back of the net – in spite of almost 70 per cent possession in the second half.

Bayer 04 are back in action on Thursday 8 November with a nine o'clock kick-off against FC Zürich at the BayArena for the fourth group match in the Europa League. The next fixture in the Bundesliga is away to RB Leipzig on Sunday 11 November at 15.30 CET.

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Hradecky – Tah, S. Bender (Baumgartlinger 46'), Jedvaj – Weiser, L. Bender, Havertz, Wendell – Bellarabi (Bailey 38'), Volland, Brandt (Paulinho 67')

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Baumann – Akpoguma, Vogt (Bicakcic 59'), Adams – Kaderabek, Nordtveit, Grillitsch, Schulz – Grifo (Bittencourt 78') – Joelinton, Nelson (Belfodil 64')

Goals: 0-1 Nelson (19'), 1-1 Bellarabi (30'), 1-2 Joelinton (33'), 1-3 Grifo (48' pen.), 1-4 Joelinton (73')

Referee: Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)

Booked: Akpoguma, Adams

Attendance: 27,589

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