Bayer Leverkusen welcomed Hamburger SV to the BayArena on Sunday as they looked to return to winning ways after a poor run of form which saw them lose to Mainz 05, Werder Bremen and Villarreal. Hamburg, on the other hand, were on a good run coming into the game having lost just the once in their last six games.
Chances aplenty in the first half
The match didn't take long to produce a chance as just thirty seconds in a cross from the right picked out Javier Hernández, who headed just wide.
The first chance of the game for Hamburg saw Artoms Rudņevs go through on goal after two failed headers from Leverkusen; the Hamburg forward couldn't fire the ball past Bernd Leno, however.
After ten minutes the hosts threatened once more, this time Karim Bellarabi provided the cross and Ömer Toprak adjusted well to head towards goal. René Adler matched the header with a terrific save to flick the ball away from goal.
Hamburg were struggling to create chances in the opening minutes of the game and they soon found themselves going behind. Julian Brandt was allowed time to charge into the area and his cross from the right took a deflection off Albin Ekdal and went in off the post.
Hamburg woke up after conceding and they had a good chance soon after Leverkusen's opener. Nicolai Müller played the ball forward to Ivo Iličević who picked out the incoming Lewis Holtby. However, disappointingly for the away side, he took a heavy touch and this allowed Jonathan Tah to come in and slide the ball away from danger.
After the half hour mark Hamburg came close once more, this time from range as Iličević tried his luck from twenty-five yards out and the effort flew just past Leno's past.
The last chance of the half fell to the hosts, Hakan Çalhanoğlu's cross from the left found it all the way towards the back of the area where Marlon Frey managed to fire the ball back across goal. Hernández was the man waiting in the middle and his header struck the top of crossbar before going over.
Hosts hang on for the win
The second half started quite slowly in terms of action, however after six minutes the first chance was carved open by Leverkusen. Tin Jedvaj had space on the right and his cross was deflected to Frey on the edge of the area and the youngster's effort from the edge of the area flew just over.
Hamburg pushed for an equaliser and they came close thanks to some fantastic skill from Aaron Hunt. Iličević burst down the left before pulling the ball back to Hunt and the midfielder back-heeled the ball to Rudņevs, sadly for the away side he struck his effort straight at Leno.
The Leverkusen youngster Frey looked very keen to grab his first goal for the club and once more he tried his luck from range, it was a close attempt but Adler never looked worried.
With twenty minutes left on the clock Leno was on hand to deny Hamburg again and in the process he produced the save of the game. A ball from the right found Rudņevs and his high-looping effort looked to be heading in, however Leno outstandingly clawed the ball away from danger.
The last real chance of the game came from Leverkusen, a very poor freekick struck the wall and then found Stefan Kießling, the substitute create space for himself before firing across goal, Adler however match the effort with an excellent save.
The win sees Leverkusen move up a space and this will give them some confidence to push on and look to end the season on a high. This is a blow for Hamburg and they'll have to look at bouncing back at home to Hoffenheim next weekend.