It was an open and entertaining encounter, and after multiple chances for both sides André Hahn broke the deadlock right on half time.
Joel Pohjanpalo looked to have snatched a point for the visitors, only for Lars Stindl to issue an almost immediate reply to secure the win.
Hahn strikes right on half-time
The game began with Leverkusen on the front foot with Karim Bellarabi causing problems on the right. His shot was deflected into the side-netting, and the resulting corner seen Jonathan Tah fail to connect cleanly with the delivery just five yards out. It would have been a certain goal he had stretched those extra few inches.
Soon the Foals returned the favour, and forced Bernd Leno into a superb double save after a lightning quick break, denying Raffael and then Oscar Wendt; the second stop, made with his face, almost knocked him out. Raffael led another counter moments later, with Hahn's shot requiring another intervention from Leno's fingertips.
Bellarabi then went on another superb solo run, turning past Christoph Kramer and Ibrahima Traoré before shifting the ball onto his right foot and forcing a good save from Yann Sommer to his left. Moments later, a Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick from deep found Tah rising above the rest, only to see his header crash off the crossbar.
The back and forth continued as, once again, Leno's face kept Gladbach from opening the scoring. There was only so much he could do, though, when Tah's backward header caught out Ömer Toprak and let Hahn in on goal. This time he went low, finishing through Leno's legs to give the Foals the lead with the last meaningful action in the half.
Pohjanpalo looked to have earned a draw, but Stindl secured all three points
The second half started in the same vein as the first, with chances falling for Kevin Kampl and Bellarabi in the early exchanges; Kampl hit the outside of the post with his close range shot. Bellarabi then had a glorious opportunity to restore parity when Tin Jedvaj was free in the middle for a tap in but, instead, he opted to shoot straight at Sommer.
Just like the first period, Gladbach came back with chances of their own and both came from Raffael free-kicks that were deflected off the wall. The first saw Leno make a stunning, one-handed save to claw the ball away while wrong-footed. The second flashed past the far post, much to the Leverkusen stopper's relief.
After that, tempers started to fray and substitutions were made to try and bring football back to the fore. It would be changes that would influence the game heavily as, just one minute after coming on, Pohjanpalo scored. Sommer saved well from Nico Elvedi's deflection, Bellarabi headed it into the middle at the back post and Pohjanpalo finished.
That joy was short-lived and Gladbach duly restored their lead six minutes later. Thorgan Hazard, who had came on one minute prior, provided a superb through ball to find Stindl racing through on goal. He kept calm and slotted past the oncoming Leno to get André Schubert's men off to the best possible start.