Stuttgart escalates, Bayer laughs: a Bundesliga game like a saloon fight

Bayer Leverkusen did it again. The first defeat of the season is once again looming against VfB Stuttgart, but in the 96th minute DFB player Robert Andrich strikes for the champions. There is trouble about the equalizer.

When the VfB Stuttgart cowboys entered the BayArena saloon early on Saturday evening, they did not do so with the best of intentions. The delegation from Swabia had two unfinished business in their saddlebags and a plan to destroy the saloon, which has been the country’s largest party zone for months. The Stuttgart team wanted to be the first to stain Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s still pristine white vest. They had come close twice in the past few months, but both times the new German champions came undone. There was a draw in the Bundesliga and a defeat in the 90th minute in the DFB Cup.

In the third duel they were even closer, only in the 90th + 6th minute. The last cartridge hit in a minute. Robert Andrich shot through the thicket in front of him and hit. It was an instinctive act, nothing mature. Nothing planned. If you abandon the plan to force a draw and thus save the monstrous series of 46 games across all competitions. The DFB player actually didn’t know what exactly he was doing. He couldn’t say with certainty whether his eyes were open or closed. He was just hoping, was allowed to celebrate, and scored to make it 2-2 (0-0). Bayer and VfB played hard again. The hosts had come back from behind against the Swabians for the third time and couldn’t believe their luck. The guests sank down, with blank stares – or fiery anger in their eyes. Although Bayer has long been confirmed as champions, something that had been sung about in a constant loop, and VfB can plan for the Champions League, there were emotions and scenes like after a dramatic all-or-nothing knockout game.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen – VfB Stuttgart 2:2 (0:0)

Gates: 0:1 Führich (47th), 0:2 Undav (57th), 1:2 Adli (61st), 2:2 Andrich (90th + 6th)
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Kossounou, Tah (46. Hincapie), Tapsoba – Frimpong (89. Tella), Palacios, Andrich, Grimaldo (89. Stanisic) – Hofmann (74. Wirtz), Schick (74. Boniface), Adli. – Trainer: Alonso
Stuttgart: Nübel – Stergiou (81st Rouault), Anton, Ito, Mittelstädt – Karazor, Millot (74th Dahoud), Leweling (90th Stenzel), Führich (81st Rouault) – Undav (74th Jeong), Guirassy. – Trainer: Hoeness
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlin)
Yellow cards: Palacios, Kossounou (3), Hincapie (2), Andrich (4), Hincapie (2) – Undav (4), Millot (5), Mittelstädt (5)
Viewers: 30,210 (sold out)

The champions and the third-placed team faced each other for around 300 minutes this season. And almost every minute was a pleasure. The technical class of the individual players, the naturalness with which these two teams combine and the greed that they exude, all of this has been unique, no, twice in German football for months. VfB coach Sebastian Hoeneß did not want to get involved in the fact that the best teams in the country had once again dueled in the BayArena. He has a statistics sheet in front of him, where Bayer is on one and VfB is on three. As a result, it wasn’t the top two.

FC Bayern was only able to keep up in a direct duel with VfB

Between the big protagonists of this season lies FC Bayern, who are better off on points than Stuttgart, but cannot follow VfB in their exciting style of playing football. The fact that the dethroned record champions delivered one of their absolute best performances of this turbulent round and won 3-0 in the only duel with the Swabians so far is a curious irony of this thesis. The fact that Hoeneß is now using a quiet and humble tone may also be due to the upcoming duel next Saturday. And perhaps also the family ties to Uncle Uli, who made his club tremble with a surprise attack on current coach Thomas Tuchel. But weakened opponents are the most dangerous.

Sebastian Hoeneß had been anything but quiet before. After the 2-2 draw, which felt like a defeat for his men because they had not achieved their goal of ending Leverkusen’s series, he verbally attacked referee Felix Zwayer. The referee, who is traveling to the European Championships for Germany, not only allowed a rough exchange of blows, but from VfB’s point of view he decided several things wrong before the 2-2 score. The indicated stoppage time had already expired when there was a free kick after substitute Pascal Stenzel was fouled. After the standard sailed in, Bayer striker Victor Boniface pushed his opponent, the ball landed on the (placed) arm of Ezequiel Palacios and finally in front of Andrich.

Sports director Frank Wohlgemuth then questioned the future of the VAR as diplomatically as possible. The angry striker Deniz Undav barked “best referee, top referee” through the catacombs and Hoeneß fought against Zwayer’s decisions for minutes. The conclusion of his statements: no understanding of anything. He had some of that in common with his counterpart. After a heated debate on the benches, Hoeneß and Xabi Alonso each received yellow cards. It was the fourth warning for the master coach and he is suspended from Eintracht Frankfurt. However, he didn’t know why he saw the box. The discussions were emotional but respectful, he said politely at the press conference. The still grim Hoeneß nodded in agreement.

Zwayer loses control of the game

The German European Championship referee himself had whistled that on the sidelines, in the catacombs and on the press podium during and after the game there was talk not only about the once again fast-paced evening of football, but also about Zwayer. His line of direction was about as straight as a hare on the run. With every whistle the situation became more uneasy, this heated atmosphere spread from the field to the stands and came back with force from there. After 26 minutes, Atakan Karazor fouled his opponent Palacios. Zwayer prevented Bayer from gaining an advantage because the world champion was lying on the ground in pain. displeasure. Also about the fact that the referee didn’t show a card. That happened five minutes later, in the same duel, but this time Palacios scored, but not particularly hard.

In terms of sport, the balance had by then shifted heavily to the hosts’ side. VfB striker Serhou Guirassy had a header next to the goal after 14 minutes, but Bayer otherwise pushed VfB deep into their own half. There was no sign of the Swabians’ courageous pressing from the cup duel. It was more combat than culture. It crashed again and again. The hardship was still bearable. But the mood changed with the scenes between Karazor and Palacios. After 42 minutes, Odilon Kossounou grabbed Undav by the jersey, held him, dragged him down, and prevented a counterattack. The DFB striker let the Bayer giant run up and he pushed Undav to the ground. Small scuffle, small pack formation. Yellow for both. Then break.

Goals and turbulence every minute

Jonathan Tah stayed outside. Leverkusen’s defense chief had taken a hit. Nothing serious, nothing big. But with a view to Thursday’s Europa League semi-final, Alonso didn’t want to take any risks. At Bayer, none of the big three were on the field anymore. Granit Xhaka, the brains, was missing and magician Florian Wirtz was given a break to recover and sat on the bench like some of the other regulars (until the 74th minute). This had bitter consequences for Leverkusen. Order was completely lost. Chris Führich smashed a rebound into the goal after 47 minutes, nine minutes later Undav made it 2-0. The first Bayer bankruptcy of the season suddenly seemed so close. And it would have been set in stone if Guirassy had made it 3-0 another four minutes later, but he narrowly missed again.

Stuttgart was now passionate about eating up the hosts’ monstrous streak. In the BayArena Saloon, all inhibitions fell away. Andrich kicked Enzo Millot in the feet from behind, pack formation, yellow (58th). Edmond Tapsoba pushed Maxi Mittelstädt, no warning. The duel didn’t allow itself any more breathing space. Leverkusen ran like hell and Amine Adli shortened the score (61′). Undav scolded Zwayer, but didn’t receive a second warning. Then Adli fired a powerful shot at Alexander Nübel. At first he made a great save, then even sensationally when Jonas Hofmann made a follow-up shot (65′). A little later, Hofmann was cleared by Millot and given a yellow card (69′). Turbulence on the sidelines, yellow for both coaches (70th). Suddenly Guirassy again, who couldn’t push the ball over the line from five meters (72′), Führich also missed (73′).

Then Mittelstädt saw yellow. He could only stop Jeremie Frimpong, who was constantly sprinting away, with a foul. The free kick landed on Kossounou’s head and into the goal, just offside (77′). Piero Hancapie grabbed his elbow and stretched Jamie Leweling to the ground. Yellow (83′). Stuttgart defended with everything they had. And countered to win. Lukas Hrdackey prevented the score from making it 1:3 (87′) with a super save. Hoeneß wants to take time off the clock, brings Stenzel. The referees told him that this should give him 30 seconds more added time. Stenzel reaches, free kick, goal, 2:2. Hoeneß is completely served, the people of Stuttgart are foaming with anger. Xabi Alonso enjoys and does not understand the moment. “There is no explanation why this happens in football,” said the coach, who watched the Werkself’s 15th goal of the season in stoppage time with complete disbelief: “I can’t say anything – but it was good for us. ” For Andrich, it was “just great how the team didn’t want to lose the thing.” He can “imagine that the opponents have in the back of their minds: Shit, we can’t switch off.” Lucky Leverkusen celebrates, the saloon shakes.

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