2-2 against Stuttgart – Werkself rescue run with late leveller

The last-minute madness continues: Bayer 04 secured a 2-2 draw against VfB Stuttgart on Bundesliga matchday 31. Chris Führich and Deniz Undav (57') put the visitors 2-0 up after a goalless first half. The team under head coach Xabi Alonso fought back with another energetic performance: Amine Adli (62’) pulled a goal back and, in the last move of the game, Robert Andrich levelled to make it 2-2 (90+7'). The Werkself remain unbeaten in 46 games across all competitions.

Head coach Xabi Alonso made four changes to his starting XI compared with last week's line-up in the 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund: Odilon Kossounou came in for Piero Hincapie in defence, with Exequiel Palacios starting in midfield in place of the suspended Granit Xhaka, and Amine Adli plus Patrik Schick started as Josip Stanisic and Nathan Tella dropped down to the bench.

Grimaldo and Schick with double chance

The Werkself were on top in the opening stages. With high pressing and pressure in attack the hosts again and again posed a threat to the Stuttgart goal. The biggest chance fell to Jeremie Frimpon when the Dutchman was put through on the right by Jonas Hofmann but his shot went past the far post (8’). Stuttgart came into the game as the match progressed with Serhou Guirassy having the first chance for the visitors on 14 minutes – but the striker put his header wide of the target. The Black and Reds were undaunted and repeatedly gained possession in defence. 

Hofmann am Ball

Bayer 04 had a double chance on 30 minutes in another counter-attack: Alejandro Grimaldo first tested the VfB keeper Alexander Nübel who made the save. The ball rebounded to Schick but the Czechia international hit his volley over the bar. The encounter was evenly balanced up to the half-time whistle with both teams investing great effort but also lacking accuracy with the final ball. The two sides ended the first 45 minutes with the scoreline reading 0-0.

VfB score twice, Adli and Andrich reply

The visitors were first out of the blocks after the restart: Grimaldo made a misjudgement allowing opponent Jamie Leweling to break clear and shoot from the right of the box. Lukas Hradecky turned the ball onto the bar but the rebound was converted by Chris Führich to give Stuttgart a 1-0 lead (47'). Leverkusen found it difficult to play their normal game and looked disorganised. The team under head coach Sebastian Hoeneß took their chance: Deniz Undav beat Robert Andrich on the edge of the Bayer 04 penalty area before slotting the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0 (57'). The hosts responded five minutes later: Adli was put through in the opposition box from a Grimaldo pass and he succeeded in pulling a goal back at 2-1. Both the Bayer 04 fans, in another full house at the BayArena, and the team on the pitch were up for the challenge. The Werkself took control of the game and pressed hard for the equaliser – Adli and Hofmann almost made it 2-2 on 65 minutes.

Jubel Adli nach Tor

Kossounou appeared to have put the Werkself level on 77 minutes but the Ivorian was offside and the goal did not count. The hosts tried everything in the closing stages with VfB occasionally breaking through to Hradecky's goal in counter-attacks. In the last move of the game, the ball fell to Andrich from a free kick, he hit it and rifled it into the back of the net for the final score of 2-2. That means the Werkself have now gone unbeaten in 46 games across all competitions.

outlook: semi-final first leg in rome, then Frankfurt

The Werkself have the first of two busy weeks coming up with two away games in succession: The Black and Reds are away to AS Roma in the semi-final first leg in the Europa League on Thursday 2 May (kick-off: 21.00 CEST). That is followed three days later on Bundesliga matchday 32 by an away fixture at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday 5 May (kick-off: 17.30 CEST).

Match stats

Bayer 04: Hradecky - Kossounou, Tah (Hincapie 46'), Tapsoba – Frimpong (Tella 89'), Andrich, Palacios, Grimaldo (Stanisic 89') – Hofmann (Wirtz 74'), Adli – Schick (Boniface 74')

VfB Stuttgart: Nübel – Stergiou (Silas 80'), Anton, Ito, Mittelstädt (Rouault 80') – Karazor, Millot (Dahoud 74') – Leweling (Stenzel 90+2’), Undav (Jeong 74'), Guirassy, Führich 

Goals: 0-1 Führich (47’), 0-2 Undav (57’), 1-2 Adli (62’), 2-2 Andrich (90+7’)

Booked: Palacios, Kossounou, Andrich, Alonso (coach), Hincapie – Undav, Millot, Hoeneß (coach), Mittelstädt

Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)

Attendance: 30,210 (sold out) at the BayArena


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