Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a string of saves to secure a 1-1 draw for his side at Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Sunday.
The teams produced an average of 4.5 goals a game in their previous eight league meetings and another free-scoring game was on the cards when Patrick Herrmann scored in the third minute and Michal Kadlec equalized for Leverkusen nine minutes later.
Andre Schuerrle should have scored the winner in the 70th minute from the penalty spot, but the Leverkusen striker struck the post.
“It’s a huge pity and I’m sorry for the fans,” Schuerrle said. “We had our best game of the season and were clearly superior.”
Schuerrle also had the best chance of the first half, with Ter Stegen forcing his Germany teammate to shoot wide when he only had the goalkeeper to beat.
“We have to be very happy with the point [as] we had a lot of luck today. We fought, but there is still a huge amount to do,” Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said.
Also on Sunday, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim secured their first points of the season with a 3-1 win over Hannover 96, while VfB Stuttgart drew 2-2 at Werder Bremen in the late games.
Hannover took the lead in Hoffenheim in the 26th minute when the unfortunate Matthieu Delpierre’s attempted headed clearance flew past his own goalkeeper, but Fabian Johnson equalized in the next minute with a fine individual effort, flicking the ball past US teammate Steve Cherundolo with his heel, before scoring from an acute angle.
The home side pressed hard for the lead and finally made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute through Sejad Salihovic, before Daniel Williams wrapped up the win in stoppage-time.
“This is not the Hannover of the last few weeks,” goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler said after his side’s first loss of the season.
In Bremen, Kevin de Bruyne put the home side ahead in the 23rd minute, turning inside Serdar Tasci and playing a one-two with Nils Peterson, before shooting inside the left post.
Peterson set up another in the 34th minute when he crossed for Zlatko Junuzovic’s first Bundesliga goal.
Martin Harnik pulled one back for Stuttgart five minutes into the second half and Cacau scored a deserved equalizer in the 81st minute, two minutes after Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf brought on a defender to protect the lead.
“We’ve only ourselves to blame again,” Bremen striker Marco Arnautovic said. “When we’re winning 2-0, we have to close the deal.”
Both sides ended the game with 10 men after Harnik, who was clearly fired up against his former side, was sent off for a second bookable offense with three minutes remaining, while Bremen defender Assani Lukimya earned a straight red in stoppage-time.
Juan Arango got Moenchengladbach off to a great start in the sides’ Rhine derby earlier, splitting the Leverkusen defense with a long ball that Herrmann controlled with one touch and flicked past Bernd Leno with his next.
Kadlec equalized with a fantastic strike into the top-right corner after Stefan Reinartz played the ball to him on the left.
From then on, it was almost all Leverkusen. Filip Daems made three clearances off the line to deny the home side in the 27th minute, first from Stefan Kiessling and then twice from Schuerrle off the rebounds.
Then Ter Stegen denied Kiessling’s powerful shot at the near post and the Germany No. 3 rushed out to put off Schuerrle before the break.