Head coach Xabi Alonso made four changes to his starting eleven for the clash with VfL Wolfsburg: Odilon Kossounou came into the defence in place of Piero Hincapie who is serving a one-match ban after being sent off in the 5-1 defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt. Kerem Demirbay started in midfield and Alonso opted to play Adam Hlozek and Amine Adli up front. Paulinho dropped down to the bench, Charles Aránguiz (calf) and Patrik Schick (groin) were not in the squad.
The Werkself were on top from the start with patient build-up play and plenty of possession. Moussa Diaby broke into the opposition box on ten minutes at great pace for the first time. His cross did not find a teammate but it did strike the hand of Wolfsburg's Micky van de Ven. The referee Dr Felix Brych pointed to the spot. Diaby stepped up but he put the spot kick wide of the right-hand post.
Diaby was through on the VfL keeper Koen Casteels on 17 minutes: The Leverkusen number 19 was one-on-one with the Wolfsburg shot-stopper after a one-two with Hlozek. He waited to shoot, kept his nerve and slotted the ball into the VfL net for a deserved 1-0 lead. It was goal number 2,500 in the Bundesliga for the Black and Reds.
The Wolves were roused after going behind and no longer merely focussed on defensive duties but instead sought to get forwards into attack. Initially there were no problems for Lukas Hradecky and Co. However, VfL did level at 1-1 on 28 minutes when a cross from Ridle Baku was accidentally turned into his own net by Andrich. The Werkself remained undaunted and maintained their control of the game. There were chances at both ends at the end of the first 45 minutes: Adli hit a shot against the Wolfsburg woodwork and Hradecky turned a deflected shot away for a corner. Brych then blew the whistle for half-time.
There were no changes for either side at half-time. After an intensive start to the second half, Edmond Tapsoba fouled Wolfsburg's Felix Nmecha in the penalty area. This time there was a penalty for VfL, which the Wolves captain Maximilian Arnold converted to make it 2-1 for the visitors (54'). Alonso reacted by bringing on Nadiem Amiri and Callum Hudson-Odoi for Demirbay and Hlozek. The Werkself continued to have the upper hand after going behind but it proved to be difficult to penetrate the Wolfsburg back five.
Alonso made further substitutions bringing on Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Daley Sinkgraven for Kossounou and Mitchel Bakker – it proved to be a stroke of luck: Sinkgraven broke into the opposition box on 76 minutes but his shot did not find the back of the net but instead Jeremie Frimpong on the right side of the goal. The Dutchman turned the ball into the Wolfsburg goal for a deserved equaliser at 2-2. There was almost a chance to take the lead shortly after that when Adli just failed to connect with a cross from Amiri. The Werkself continued to press to the end looking to take all three points. The winner did not come so the match ended all square at 2-2.
The Werkself have a crowded fixture programme up to the World Cup in November. The Alonso team are next in action on Wednesday 26 October on matchday five in Group B of the UEFA Champions League with an away game at Atlético Madrid. The clash with the Rojiblancos kicks off at 21.00 CEST. That is followed on Saturday 29 October (kick-off: 15.30 CEST) by an away fixture at RB Leipzig on matchday 11 in the Bundesliga.
Bayer 04: Hradecky - Kossounou (Fosu-Mensah 69'), Tah, Tapsoba - Frimpong, Andrich, Demirbay (Amiri 60'), Bakker (Sinkgraven 69') - Diaby, Hlozek (Hudson-Odoi 60'), Adli (Paulinho 82')
Wolfsburg: Casteels - Baku, Bornauw (Lacroix 90'), van de Ven, Otavio - Paredes (Svanberg 72'), Arnold, Gerhardt (Guilavogui 72’) - Kaminski (Roussillon 76’), F. Nmecha, Marmoush (Wind 72’)
Goals: 1-0 Diaby (17’), 1-1 Andrich (28’ o.g.), 1-2 Arnold (47’ pen.), 2-2 Frimpong (76’)
Booked: Tah, Tapsoba, Andrich, Fosu-Mensah
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (Munich)
Attendance: 26,294 at the BayArena
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