Magdeburg (4)2-2(5) Bayer Leverkusen: Leno steps up for Leverkusen to break Magdeburg hearts

Magdeburg fall at the last hurdle against Leverkusen.

Magdeburg fall at the last hurdle against Leverkusen.

The Regionalliga Nordost side came into the game with plenty of confidence, after a promising start to their season they suffered four losses in a row in the league and that came to an impressive end on the weekend, they thrashed Budissa Bautzen 6-0. Bayer Leverkusen also managed a great result on the weekend when they saw off Champions League rivals Schalke with a 1-0 win.

It didn’t take long for the game to see it’s first goal, a long range freekick from Hakan Çalhanoğlu wickedly swerved as it flew towards goal and despite Jan Glinker getting his hands to the shot he wasn’t able to keep it out. Leverkusen came close to a second goal when Çalhanoğlu linked up with Tin Jedvaj, the young defender gave the ball to Josip Drmic and after a good turn his effort was flicked around the post by Glinker. The Bundesliga side continued to create chances, Heung-Min Son was denied by Glinker after Stefan Kießling flicked the ball on, there was a hint of offside. The resulting corner saw Glinker produce another good save, Jedvaj lost his marker and his header was well saved by the Magdeburg keeper, who flicked the attempt over the bar.

The home side showed their nerves early on in this game, they struggled to maintain possession and there were quite a few heavy touches and poor passes, especially going forward. Magdeburg had freekicks in promising positions, however the delivery was always lacking.

Çalhanoğlu was caught on the follow through as Silvio Bankert made a well timed heavy tackle. The former Hamburg man was later subbed off at half time and it was Robbie Kruse that took his place, it was great to see the Australian making his return to action after a long term injury.

As previously mentioned Magdeburg didn’t look like scoring so it was surprising when they levelled things. Kyriakos Papadopoulos was caught out and robbed of possession by Christian Beck, he then managed to pick out Christoph Siefkes, his effort was straight at Bernd Leno, despite this it found it’s way in thanks to a howler from the Leverkusen keeper, who palmed it into the ground and in. Magdeburg had a fantastic turnout for the game and the celebrations from the fans and players was a great sight.

Leverkusen tried to respond as quick as possible and they came close when Çalhanoğlu cut inside from the left and his shot took a deflection off the back of Steffen Puttkammer before striking the side netting.

Magdeburg’s leveller certainly rattled Leverkusen and they grew frustrated as the game went on, they gave the ball away cheaply as their quality dropped, individual mistakes also occurred, Papadopoulos was one player who made a couple. Leverkusen had the last good chance of the half when Son run down the left, he then picked out Lars Bender, who laid the ball off to Drmic and the Swiss striker gave the ball back to Son and once again he was denied by Glinker.

Leverkusen produced the first chance of the second half, after Kießling’s header was deflected over the bar, the resulting corner saw Papadopoulos’ header bounce comfortably into Glinker’s hands. Glinker was fortunate that no one followed in when Kruse had a go from range, the shot bounced up and Glinker couldn’t keep hold of the ball.

The game went quiet in front of goal, despite dominating play Leverkusen couldn’t create anything in the final third. After quite some time without a shot on goal Leverkusen finally managed one, the ball was played over to Drmic and from a tough angle his shot cannoned off the outside of the post and out for goal kick.

Twelve minutes from time the Bundesliga side were reduced to ten men, after he was fouled by Bankert, Son then reacted and kicked the defender right in front off the referee. The South Korean international strongly disagreed and had to be pulled away from the fourth official after he left the pitch.

Despite being a man down, Leverkusen almost grabbed a late winner, Drmic’s freekick into the box saw Ömer Toprak rise the highest and his header unfortunately cannoned off the crossbar. After some late pressure Leverkusen couldn’t come up with the goods and the game entered into extra time.

The first half of extra time went the same way as large parts of the second half, neither side created chances and the keepers were having an easy time of it. The closest we came to a goal was when Leno almost flicked the ball into his own goal, luckily for him the ball hit the crossbar and dropped into his hands.

Nicolas Hebisch was played through with a ball over the top and after controlling his shot deflected off Emir Spahić, who managed to get back and fortunately for Leverkusen the effort stayed out thanks to the crossbar. Moments later the roof was blasted off the stadium, Nico Hammann burst down the left and picked out Niklas Brandt, his shot from outside the area was struck brilliantly and curled into the top corner leaving Leno helpless.

Magdeburg’s lead only lasted just four minutes as a freekick in from Julian Brandt was met by the head of Papadopoulos and the defender more than made up for his mistake that lead to Magdeburg’s first goal. The header into the top corner was enough for the ten men of Leverkusen to send the game into penalties.

The penalty shoot-out was eventful, Glinker made a good save to deny Spahić, Hammann then scored for the hosts. The score was 3-2 and it was Kießling that stepped up for the chance to make it 3-3, however Glinker did brilliantly to tip the penalty onto the bar before it bounced on the line and stayed out. Hebisch missed the chance to win the game for Magdeburg, Leno produced a great save, after Julian Brandt made it 3-3 Leno made another save to deny Niklas Brandt. Levin Mete Öztunali and Jedvaj both scored and made it 4-5, Lars Fuchs stepped up to level things and once again Leno produced the all important save.

Magdeburg put in a fantastic performance and despite coming so so close to a famous win they were denied at the last possible moment. They will be praised for their efforts, but for now this defeat will hurt. Leverkusen scrape through to the third round despite dominating large spells. Leno more than made up for his part in Magdeburg’s first and the keeper certainly stepped up when he was needed. Magdeburg will hopefully take this encouragement into their league campaign, up next they’re at home to Carl Zeiss Jena. Leverkusen have another away trip on the weekend, they travel to Hamburg.

Article for VAVEL

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