Quick goals from Kevin Volland and Lukas Alario put them firmly in control, with Hamburg failing to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way. Volland added a third late on to secure an important three points.
Leverkusen put on a show at home again
After losing to Hertha BSC in their last match in midweek, Heiko Herrlich swung the changes for Leverkusen, making six alterations. Benjamin Henrichs, Jonathan Tah, Julian Baumgartlinger, Leon Bailey and Admir Mehmedi were all recalled whilst Alario made his first start having finally had his move from Club Atlético River Plate confirmed. Markus Gisdol stuck with the same side despite the 3-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund last time out.
A quiet start to the match saw few opportunities early on. Sejad Salihovic, impressing since arriving on a free transfer earlier in the month, had an effort on goal for Der Dino. It was going over, but Bernd Leno got a hand on it anyway.
Leverkusen, who had brushed aside SC Freiburg at home a week earlier, would soon get into gear. After an initial move forward was halted in the box, Henrichs then played the ball back in. Bailey headed it on to Volland who chested down and struck in to score his third goal in two home matches, having scored a brace against Freiburg.
It was soon 2-0 as Alario marked his debut in the most emphatic way possible. Volland found Bailey on the right side of the pitch, with the Argentinian Alario rushing into a gap in the Hamburg defence, sliding in to put the ball in the back of the net.
Hamburg were unable to really concern the Leverkusen defence. There were a couple of opportunities for them to do so though, with André Hahn turning a Salihovic free kick wide and Bobby Wood also missing the target. At the other end Bailey was impressing on the wings, and despite slipping he put in a good cross that was flicked by Baumgartlinger to Mehmedi, although his shot was well off the mark.
Brandt inspires another Volland goal
Leverkusen toiled in pursuit of a third goal after the break. Mehmedi had one effort denied to him as Dennis Diekmeier did enough to put him off.
Hamburg though were given them plenty to worry about in the final third, although they weren’t showing enough composure when it mattered. Lewis Holtby had a shot blocked by Leno, whilst Hahn hit the side netting after being played through by Bakery Jatta, when there were options arriving for him in the box.
At other times, Leverkusen were able to scramble the ball away, although on one occasion Charles Aránguiz was lucky not to concede a penalty after going in on Luca Waldschmit.
Gisdol’s final throw of the dice was to throw on a debutant, Tatsuya Ito, in the final ten minutes, but it was a man brought on after being surprisingly left out that made the difference for Leverkusen. Julian Brandt went on a mazy run, finding Alario. He then combined with strike partner Volland who tucked past Christian Mathenia to put to bed any hopes of a Hamburg comeback.
Brandt’s incredible speed having come off the bench was the last thing Hamburg needed as they began to tire. He wouldn’t create enough goal, also another substitute in Joel Pohjanpalo, who scored a hat-trick against Hamburg last year, was the recipient of a pass for the final chance of the game, saved by Mathenia. With their away form non-existent, this was another important home win for Leverkusen, but Hamburg, after a good start, have now lost four in a row.