Bayer 04 Leverkusen moved one step closer to securing a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions league after coming from two goals down at the Veltins-Arena to beat FC Schalke 04 3-2 on Saturday evening.
- Schalke 2-3 Leverkusen
- Huntelaar misses penalty
- Choupo-Moting and Sane put home side two goals ahead
- Goals from Brandt and Bellarabi level matters
- Chicharito completes comeback win
Leverkusen secured their sixth consecutive victory when they came from two goals down against Schalke, moving five points ahead of fourth-placed Hertha Berlin.
The home side raced into a two-goal lead when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and teenage winger Leroy Sané scored, after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s fifth-minute penalty miss, but in the second half it was all Leverkusen.
Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi scored two goals in quick succession ten minutes into the second half, before Javier Hernandez completed the thrilling comeback with a neat finish five minutes later.
Schalke fans were left in shock as Die Knappen surrendered a comfortable two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at the Veltins-Arena.
The home side dominated the first half completely – in the opening five minutes they were awarded a penalty, with returning Leverkusen defender Ömer Toprak guilty of complacency in the area.
The subsequent penalty was saved by highly-rated goalkeeper Bernd Leno as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar watch on in disbelief. The penalty miss was quickly erased from the memory of the home fans, though, when young winger Max Meyer combined well with the lanky Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to open the scoring ten minutes later.
Just before the half-hour mark, Meyer was involved again as he setup teenage forward Sané to double their advantage and send the Königsblauen faithful into wild celebrations.
Roger Schmidt reacted quickly by substituting full-back Tim Jedvaj for 19-year old midfielder Benjamin Henrichs as they looked to change their shape and get control of the midfield battle.
It was only in the second half that the change paid dividends, as Leverkusen scored two goals in the space of two frantic minutes – the first from wonder-kid Julian Brandt.
Karim Bellarabi, who recently committed his future to the club, did well to trick his way into the area before setting up the teenager to make it 2-1, and barely two minutes later substitute Henrichs turned provider for Bellarabi to bring the away side level in empathic fashion.
The trio of Brandt, Bellarabi and Henrichs started running riot as their confidence visibly grew, and five minutes later the visitors went ahead for the first time in the fixture.
Brandt again did well to ease past the oncoming defenders before setting up former Manchester United forward Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez for his 26th goal of the season.
— Pitti, der Liebe (@Bayer_Pitti) April 23, 2016