Leverkusen frustrated in sodden Nuremberg

leverkusen frustrated in sodden nuremberg

Bayer Leverkusen were left to rue missed chances as Nuremberg snatched a barely deserved 1-1 Bundesliga home draw on Monday.

Teenager Kai Havertz opened the scoring for Leverkusen before the break in a game played in torrential rain with water on the pitch making passing difficult.

The guests could have secured the points but paid for their misses and Georg Margreitter, with a second half deflection, grabbed a crucial equalizer for Nuremberg.

Leverkusen still edge up to 11th in a poor season while promoted Nuremberg climb out of the relegation play-off place on goal difference.

A muted atmosphere greeted the players as fans continued protests against the first of five Monday games this season.

The Bundesliga introduced the kick-off slot to ease the load on teams playing in the Europa League but Leverkusen – in action last Thursday – got round this problem themselves by recalling nine players to their starting eleven.

They immediately took advantage of the weather as an apparently overhit pass held up in the box for Karim Bellarabi to shoot though Fabian Bredlow, deputizing for the injured Christian Mathenia, saved well.

Sven Bender hit the bar with a looping mishit and Kevin Volland turned into the side-netting as Leverkusen turned the screw before finally taking the lead in the 30th minute.

Bredlow could only punch a cross under pressure and Havertz calmly guided a chip inside the post to break the deadlock.

"You just have to hammer the ball into the box. In such weather it's not about carrying the ball in their nicely," Leverkusen captain Lars Bender told Eurosport.

Havertz described the conditions as "catastrophic" and complained: "You could see there wasn't a football game here today rather simply a battle."

Early in the second half Volland and Brandt spurned good chances to double the lead and Nuremberg made the most of their good fortune.

A cross wasn't properly cleared by Leverkusen and though Margreitter's shot did not look dangerous, a deflection completely deceived keeper Lukas Hradecky to level in the 56th minute.

"Difficult pitch, difficult to play," said Nuremberg's Hanno Behrens. "It was very good that we came back from the first goal."

The match became increasingly comical late on in the soaking conditions but no winner could be found despite slips from both sides.

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