Leverkusen leave it late for comeback win over Hoffenheim


Leverkusen's late heroics extends unbeaten run to 39 games

Bayer Leverkusen leaves it late to come from a goal down to beat Hoffenheim 2-1 and stay unbeaten this season.

Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen scored twice late in the game with Robert Andrich and Patrik Schick to earn a remarkable 2-1 comeback win over Hoffenheim on Saturday and edge closer to the league title.

Leverkusen, unbeaten in 39 matches across all competitions this season, are now on 73 points, 13 ahead of Bayern Munich, who lost 2-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund and remain on 60.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

A day after coach Xabi Alonso announced he would be staying on despite interest from major European clubs, Leverkusen got off to a lacklustre start despite controlling the pace of the game.

Their attacks were stifled and the finishing lacked precision with Hoffenheim's Maximilian Beier silencing the home crowd in the 33rd minute when he broke clear and beat keeper Lukas Hradecky from close range.

"In the first half we had problems to control the game and to reach the final third of the pitch," Alonso said. "But we kept at it and in the second half we scored. It does not matter when. We needed a goal to change the mindset."

The hosts piled on the pressure after the break but were repeatedly denied by keeper Oliver Baumann, including with a spectacular double save in the 76th minute.

Patrik Schick also scored the late winner against Qarabag in the Europa League earlier in March.
Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

With time running out Alonso brought on forward Borja Iglesias, who rattled the crossbar four minutes after entering as the hosts camped in Hoffenheim's box.

The pressure paid off in the 88th minute when Germany international Andrich stabbed in the equaliser from a Florian Wirtz cross.

Schick completed the comeback with a far-post volley in stoppage time, confirming Leverkusen's never-say-die attitude this season.

Alonso's team had come from two goals in both Europa League round-of-16 legs against Qarabag this month to advance 5-4 on aggregate.

"Every game is a huge challenge for us. We were lucky but we showed a very good mentality to keep going, to keep believing. We had a chance to win just like against Qarabag and we did it," Alonso said.

"To have this faith to have a winning mentality, it is something that is created and we have created it this season."

Leverkusen, whose last major title came more than 30 years ago, face Fortuna Dusseldorf in the German Cup semifinal on Tuesday.

With 73 points, they have now equaled their club record from the 1999-2000 campaign.

The result also means that Leverkusen now have the second longest unbeaten run in the history of Europe's top-five leagues, overtaking the 2004-05 Inter Milan team who managed 38 games, and behind only Juventus, who went 42 games without losing in the 2011-12 season.