Stuttgart salvage late point at Leverkusen
Stuttgart picked up their first point of 2012 to reduce the pressure on coach Bruno Labbadia and increase it on Bayer Leverkusen counterpart Robin Dutt following a 2-2 draw at the BayArena.
Stefan Kiessling put Bayer ahead in the 11th minute, but Julian Schieber levelled 12 minutes later. Bayer captain Simon Rolfes restored the hosts' lead just after the break from the penalty spot but, after they lost Michal Kadlec to a red card in the 63rd minute, they also lost their lead again in the 89th minute as Martin Harnik grabbed a point for Stuttgart.
The visitors also ended the game with ten men, with Cristian Molinaro dismissed in stoppage time. Vedran Corluka was making his debut for Bayer and it was clear that he had only trained with his new team-mates a handful of times as his misplaced pass was met by Shinji Okazaki, who missed the invitation by shooting wide in the first minute.
Corluka made up for that mistake with his contribution to the first goal in the 11th minute. His cross was headed towards goal by Rolfes, but Sven Ulreich made the save, parrying the ball to Kiessling, who managed to bundle it over the line while on the ground.
Stuttgart keep going
Bayer appeared to be in control of the game, until they gave away a free-kick nearly 30 yards from their own goal. Stuttgart played the ball short to Schieber, who had a better angle to send his low shot past the wall and into the bottom corner.
Referee Thorsten Kinhofer pointed to the spot in the 47th minute after Serdar Tasci pushed Lars Bender inside the penalty area, and Rolfes made no mistake with his accurate spot-kick going in just beyond the reach of Ulreich.
Stuttgart responded well with Vedad Ibisevic going close to his first goal for the club before Kadlec picked up a petty second yellow card to leave the home side with ten men for the last half an hour.
Stuttgart's persistence was rewarded in the 89th minute when Harnik brought them level after a goalmouth scramble. It would have been a point to celebrate for Stuttgart had Molinaro not had a rush of blood to the head and received a red card for a dangerous foul on Andre Schurrle when the game was practically over.