Tayfun Korkut again had to compensate for a number of absentees: Captain Lars Bender (ankle), Jonathan Tah (groin) and Hakan Calhanoglu (CAS ban) remain on the sidelines and Wendell served a one-match ban. The Bayer 04 coach made three changes to the side that started against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 second leg: Ömer Toprak, Benjamin Henrichs and Admir Mehmedi replaced Wendell, Tin Jedvaj and Chicharito.
Both teams made their ambitions clear in the opening 20 minutes with some lively attacking football. The first chance fell to the hosts on two minutes but Bayer 04 keeper Bernd Leno was able to save from Sandro Wagner. Shortly after that, Karim Bellarabi had the first opportunity for the Werkself but his long-range effort went over the bar.
In front of an almost capacity crowd at the Wirsol Rhein Neckar Arena in Sinsheim, the match developed into an open affair with numerous decent chances – above all for the Werkself. A dangerous shot from Hoffenheim's Karim Demirbay on six minutes was followed by efforts from Julian Brandt (9'), Bellarabi (10') and Mehmedi (13') that failed to find the back of the net. And opportunities from Bellarabi (23') and Kevin Kampl (24') also failed to break the deadlock.
Leno prevents Werkself going behind
The Werkself came close to opening the scoring during this phase of the game. The high tempo of the game finally had its effect and that enabled Hoffenheim to create chances on goal. A free kick from Steven Zuber found TSG striker Adam Szalai just outside the six-yard box on 33 minutes. Leno was able to hold onto his shot to keep the score at 0-0. Four minutes later he made another save to keep out Wagner.
Bellarabi then had chances to open the scoring on 39 and 42 minutes but he was unable to beat the impressive Hoffenheim shot-stopper Oliver Baumann. Leno was again called into action a minute before half-time when he stayed on his feet as Szalai was about to strike and he saved the shot with his chest. In spite of the 20 chances on goal (12 to 8 in favour of Bayer 04) the two sides went into the break with the score at 0-0.
Unlucky to concede
The team led by TSG coach Julian Nagelsmann were much more mobile after the restart. Szalai had the chance to open the scoring with a header from 12 yards out on 54 minutes but the ball went wide of the target. The Werkself were then even more unfortunate. A cross from Zuber was met by Wagner and he shot from close range. The ball was missing the target but Leno connected with his foot and was unlucky as the ball was deflected into the net – 1-0 to TSG on 62 minutes.
Not much more happened in the final half-hour as the Werkself struggled to make headway against an uncompromising Hoffenheim defence. The only chance for Leverkusen for most of the second 45 fell to former Hoffenheim player Kevin Volland on 49 minutes. Bayer 04 did have a chance to level in added time but substitute Chicharito was unable to convert his opportunity. The game ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat for the Werkself and represents a blow in the battle for a European finish.
The Werkself are back in action in the Bundesliga after the international break on Sunday 2 April (17.30 CET) when VfL Wolfsburg visit the BayArena.
TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann – Bicakcic, Süle, Hübner – Rudy – Toljan (Schwegler 46’), Zuber – Kramaric, Demirbay (Demirbay 85’) – Wagner, Szalai (Amiri 58’)
Bayer 04: Leno – Hilbert, Dragovic, Toprak, Henrichs – Baumgartlinger (Kießling 82’), Kampl – Bellarabi, Brandt (Bailey 71’) – Mehmedi, Volland (Chicharito 71’)
Goals: 1-0 Wagner (62’)
Booked: Szalai – Volland (2nd yellow card)
Referee: Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)
Monster Energy has been a partner in the Sponsors Club at Bayer 04 Leverkusen since the start of the 2023/24 season. Monster Energy has shown their products at Werkself home games on the LED advertising hoardings at the BayArena. Monster Energy activated the next stage of the partnership with the current Bundesliga league leaders for Bayer 04’s home game against Union Berlin in the middle of November. Monster Energy will continue to present themselves as a reliable and ambitious partner to Leverkusen fans through similar promotional events as at the game against Union Berlin.Show more
Bayer 04 involvement with the ‘Kältegang Leverkusen’ project continues this winter. The current Bundesliga league leaders and their fans again presented financial and in-kind donations to the homeless charity at home game against Borussia Dortmund (1-1).Show more
For the 17th time, Bayer 04 Sportförderung gGmbH has awarded the Volunteers Award for outstanding commitment to football in Leverkusen and the surrounding region. The three outstanding clubs in 2023 are BSV Roleber 1919, TuS 05 Oberpleis and SV 1924 Glehn. They will each receive prize money of €5,000.Show more
Bundesliga leaders Bayer 04 host Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 today, Sunday 3 December (17:30 CET), with a capacity crowd expected at the BayArena. Here’s all the latest information ahead of the clash with BVB.Show more
Two Bayer 04 players are on the shortlist for November 2023’s Goal of the Month on broadcaster ARD’s ‘Sportschau’. Fans have until midday CET on 20 December to vote for Alejandro Grimaldo’s opening goal in the Bundesliga game against Union Berlin or for Verena Wieder’s equaliser against RB Leipzig in the Google Pixel Women’s Bundesliga.Show more