Hamburg overcame a 2-0 deficit to earn a respectable 2-2 draw with Bayer Leverkusen in their Bundesliga clash at the BayArena.
A deflected free kick from Andre Schurrle and a close range strike by Lars Bender sent the home side two goals up after 20 minutes, but Heiko Westermann’s header sent the match into halftime on a knife’s edge. Marcell Jansen equalized for the visitors in the 58th minute, and despite late chances, neither side could go on to claim all three points.
The home side broke the deadlock after only five minutes through Schurrle. The Germany international lined up a free kick some 30 yards from goal, but it was a deflection off Dennis Diekmeier that took it past Jaroslav Drobny in the Hamburg net.
Leverkusen was dominant, and Bender showed great skill to turn Michael Macciene inside out near the right byline, but Schurrle’s effort from his cutback was blocked. From the resulting corner, Simon Rolfes came within inches of guiding the ball home from inside the six-yard area.
Dutt’s men were not to be denied a second, and got it in the 20th minute through a close range finish from Lars Bender. Michael Ballack’s drive from outside the box was deflected into the path of Schurrle on the left flank, who crossed for the onrushing Bender to volley home from a few yards out.
Hamburg was under severe pressure, and almost conceded a third after Schurrle beat the onrushing Drobny to a through ball, but his weak prod towards goal was cleared off the line by Diekmeier.
However, despite its offensive dominance, it was a lackluster piece of defending by Leverkusen that allowed the visiting side back into the game in the 34th minute. Dennis Aogo’s free kick went completely unchallenged by any defenders in the area, allowing the unmarked Westermann to head home from close range.
The goal sparked HSV into life, and the team kept Leverkusen under pressure for the rest of the half, spurning a few good chances to draw level. Gokhan Tore fired over from inside the box, before Jansen had had a goal correctly chalked off for offside as the first half ended to the relief of Leverkusen.
The second half unfolded at a slower pace, but the visiting team managed to level matters in the 58th minute with a well worked goal. Tore hit a brilliant lofted through-ball into the path of Jansen, who volleyed his finish expertly into the far corner.
With the match now up for grabs, both teams looked to attack with renewed vigor. Jose Guerrero scuffed a good chance into the arms of Leno, before Schurrle blasted over the bar after another good feed by Bender with 20 minutes remaining.
The German had an even better chance to put his side in front a few minutes later after Stefan Kiessling capitalized on Gojko Kacar’s sloppiness in possession to put him clean through on goal, but he could only place his finish disappointingly wide of the far post.
There were nervy moments for both sides as the game moved towards the end, and Guerrero planted a header high and wide from a great position inside the area. Neither side could be separated, and a draw was perhaps a fair result.
Hamburg moves into 17th place with 10 points, and is still mired in the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Leverkusen is in seventh spot with 18 points, seven behind leader Bayern Munich.
Bundesliga Fanatic Analysis: Link
Line-up: Leverkusen (bottom) vs Hamburg (top)
46 min. Reinartz for Sam
63 min. Derdiyok for Rolfes
79 min. Tesche for Kacar
82 min. Jarolim for Töre
89 min. Skjelbred for Son
Yellow Cards: Derdiyok and Reinartz (both Leverkusen); Rincon (Hamburg)
1:0 Schürrle (5 min.)
2:0 L. Bender (20 min.)
2:1 Westermann (34 min.)
2:2 Jansen (57 min.)
Statistics Leverkusen vs Hamburg
Posession: 49 % vs 51 %
Shots: 15 vs 14
Fouls: 20 vs 17
Corners: 5 vs 4
Offsides: 2 vs 4
Distance covered (km): 119 vs 111
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