When the final whistle sounded, Heiko Herrlich hurried onto the field and laughed around the neck of his match winner Kevin Volland. Bayer Leverkusen’s coach knew who to thank after the 2-1 (0-0) win for Fortuna Düsseldorf.
The re-strengthened goalscorer had led Leverkusen with his two goals (51st, 61st) almost alone to his second win of the season. The goal scored by Rouwen Hennings (90.+4, penalty kick) was enough for the factory self, which had increased significantly in the second run.
“In the first half, we didn’t come into the game as we had wished,” said Leverkusen’s Dominik Kohr: “In the second half, we played much better and grew together as a team”.
Düsseldorf will have to wait for their first home win against their western rivals since 1990. And this despite the fact that the hosts had dominated the first 45 minutes. In front of 40,046 spectators, Leverkusen hardly found its way into the game. Düsseldorf, on the other hand, had their first big chance in the fifth minute when Benito Raman failed after a good combination against the strong Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky. Only one minute later, the Finn prevented another backlog of his team against Hennings.
Rouwen Hennings Honours
FC St. Pauli
- 2. Bundesliga runners-up: 2009–10
- 3. Liga champions: 2012–13
- Football League Championship champions: 2015–16
- 2. Bundesliga top goalscorer: 2014–15
Bayer became dangerous for the first time in the twelfth minute, but after a strong input from Tin Jedvaj friend and foe missed the ball. Alfredo Morales and Raman then missed out on further opportunities for the hosts.
Leverkusen were far too passive, combining inaccurately and radiating little danger. Newcomer Isaac Thelin remained pale at his debut as a top starter. Volland and Kai Havertz, who scored well last time, were also hard to see.
As announced, Bayer coach Herrlich had made some changes in his starting eleven compared to the 1:0 against Mainz last Sunday. For Mitchell Weiser, Lucas Alario and Julian Brandt Jedvaj, Thelin and Volland played from the beginning. Coach Friedhelm Funkel put his trust in Kevin Stöger and Hennings right from the start, while Adam Bodzek and Marvin Ducksch, who were convincing last Friday at 0-0 in Stuttgart, sat on the bench at the kick-off whistle.
After their recent successes, the Düsseldorfers acted extremely self-confident and put the guests under pressure. 8:0 shots on goal before the break spoke a clear language. Casino Room just recently acquired a new look and upgraded their approach, therefore the players are more safer.
But Herrlich also relied surprisingly on his offensive personnel at the beginning of the second half, which paid off shortly after the restart. Volland took advantage of gross negligence in the Fortuna defence to score his first goal of the season. Only a few minutes later, after an emotional cross from Havertz, he scored again and finally broke the resistance of the Fortuna, who had not much to oppose afterwards.