The Werkself did not deserve 3 points! After a great start with 2 goals in 10 minutes, Bayer 04 played most of the remaining 84 minutes in economy mode. The punishment for this attitude came late and in the form of an unnecessary penalty.
Rolfes and Vidal substitutions in the second half were no surprise. Both did not have the presence in our game as in previous matches. Especially the Chilean lost more balls and fights in midfield than usual. The ball loss that lead to Demba Ba’s shot from outside of the area in the second half is a good example. The coach explained in the press conference after the match that Arturo suffered from calf pain, this together with the first yellow this season (risk of receiving a second) had been the reason for the substitution. Rolfes just had a bad day, understandable after an complicated and long injury last season.
Derdiyok was also not in best condition after an foul at the end of the first half. His substitution came late in the 76th minute. Helmes was at no time an option for the coach after last week public statements. Heynckes therefore decided to repeat the move that we saw against St.Pauli: a midfielder came in for the striker and Renato Augusto moved into attack.
Against St.Pauli this move meant winning control back on the game, but on Saturday it had really no effect, we continued playing the same way. The few counter-attacks we had thanks to Hoffenheims chase of the equalizer were not properly played out. The 1-2 was just not enough when Hoffenheim found their prize two minutes before the end.
Looking on the bright side, we survived Bayern and Hoffenheim. Losing against any of them would have been worse in the fight for the Champions League spot than the 2 draws we achieved. But after two draws against good teams we need to get back on winning games. In my opinion we need at least two wins and a draw to make sure that the third place is ours at the end of the first half of the season. This is possible looking at the remaining matches (Cologne, Hamburg and Freiburg). 7 points may even be enough to reduce Dortmund lead slightly (no team in the top European leagues has these figures: 12 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss). Against Cologne and Freiburg we should really focus on playing dominant like we did against Kaiserslautern. If necessary with two strikers. Against Hamburg away I would hold onto the 1-striker formation.
But first comes Rosenborg BK, qualifying for the next round early is a must looking at the table situation (with a draw we qualify if Atletico does the same or wins)! We will see an similar approach like in Hoffenheim but hopefully with a bit more control and possession!
46 min. Ba for Mlapa
74 min. Sigurdsson for Salihovic
87 min. Tagoe for Ibisevic
55 min. Reinartz for Rolfes
65 min. L. Bender for Vidal
76 min. Balitsch for Derdiyok
Yellow cards: Vorsah (Hoffenheim); Vidal,Adler and Castro(all Leverkusen)
0:1 Sam (8 min.)
0:2 Vidal (10 min. penalty)
1:2 Ibisevic (38 min.)
2:2 Sigurdsson (90 + 4 min. penalty)
Statistics Hoffenheim vs Leverkusen
Posession: 59 % vs 41 %
Shots: 15 vs 7
Fouls: 19 vs 22
Corners: 5 vs 2
Offsides: 4 vs 1
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What a goal by Sidney Sam!! He has adapted very well to the 1.Bundesliga. A great signing! However he needs to find a better balance between “Solo-runs” and playing the pass. Then he is perfect!