Gerardo Seoane made three changes to his starting line-up: Captain Lukas Hradecky returned in goal after serving a one-match ban. Piero Hincapie started at left back in place of Mitchel Bakker and Exequiel Palacios was replaced in midfield by Robert Andrich.
The game started in a similar vein to previous matches: The Werkself endeavoured to maintain possession from the start and the visitors looked focused and solid on the ball. The first goalscoring opportunity fell to the Black and Reds on seven minutes: Sardar Azmoun put Moussa Diaby through on the right and the winger shot at goal but the Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann was able to save the low shot to the far post.
The visitors did not want to defend and soon posed a threat: In an attack down the right flank, the ball was in the Leverkusen box after a one-two between Christoph Baumgartner and Grischa Prömel. Edmond Tapsoba and Jonathan Tah were in the right place in the melee but Baumgartner was able to backheel the ball past Hradecky into the far corner of the net to give TSG a 1-0 lead (9').
In spite of going behind, Leverkusen were increasingly in the opposition half but were unable to create any real chances, which was mainly due to the opponents who kept it tight at the back and again and again engaged the hosts in challenges. That paid off with ten minutes to go before half-time: Defender Ozan Kabak won the ball in his own half and was able to carry it to the penalty area. An accurate, long cross over Hradecky found TSG teammate Andrej Kramaric and he was able to extend the lead to 2-0 (35').
Baumgartner gained possession again after a Leverkusen attack on 39 minutes. The Austrian passed to Georginio Rutter who beat Tapsoba at the by-line and crossed the ball through Hradecky’s legs to teammate Robert Skov – it should have been 3-0 but VAR intervened and refereed Tobias Reichel disallowed the goal due to a foul in the build-up. It remained 2-0 for the visitors at half-time.
Seoane made two changes for the start of the second half: Palacios came on in place of Charles Aránguiz, Kerem Demirbay replaced Adam Hlozek. Diaby moved on to the left wing in the new system with a back three and Jeremie Frimpong played on the right flank.
The Werkself looked determined as they came out for the second 45 as they endeavoured to get back on terms. Again and again, the Seoane team broke through on goal as in the 52nd minute: Diaby again showed his pace down the wing before crossing to Patrik Schick. The Czech Republic international shot but fellow striker Azmoun was in the way and that prevented the ball hitting the target. Hoffenheim mounted less attacks in the second half but continued to be determined and tough in challenges.
Hoffenheim’s defensive work paid off again on 78 minutes: Rutter won out in a challenge with substitute Bakker on the right wing and fired a shot into the net for the final score of 3-0.
After the two home defeats against FC Augsburg and TSG Hoffenheim, the Werkself are in the Rhineland Palatinate next weekend. The Seoane team are away to Mainz 05. The kick off at the MEWA Arena on Saturday 27 August is at 15.30 CEST.
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Frimpong, Tah, Tapsoba (Bakker 76’), Hincapie – Andrich (Paulinho 66’), Aránguiz (Palacios 45’) – Diaby, Azmoun (Amiri 76’), Hlozek (Demirbay 45’) – Schick
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Akpoguma, Vogt, Kabak - Angelino, Geiger (Rudy 75’), Skov (Kaderabek 70’) - Baumgartner (Dabbur 70’), Prömel - Rutter (Bruun Larsen 86’), Kramaric (Stiller 86’)
Goals: 0-1 Baumgartner (9’), 0-2 Kramaric (35’), 0-3 Rutter (78’)
Booked: Diaby - Kabak, Rutter, Angelino, Akpoguma
Referee: Tobias Reichel (Maichingen)
Attendance: 26,339 at the BayArena
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