3.04.2018Bayer 04

April brings challenges and chances

The Bundesliga is slowly approaching the home straight and the next few weeks will be decisive. Bayer 04 face a run of games against direct rivals for a Champions League qualification place.

Just one point from the last two games away to FC Köln and at home to FC Augsburg – no surprise that caused great disappointment amongst the Werkself players and management as well as the fans. Nobody at Bayer 04 is making any bones about it. However, complaining and moaning rarely lead to an upturn in form; shake yourselves down, look forward and get ready to fight has to be the maxim now. At the end of the day, the Werkself have proved more than once that they are capable of quickly getting back on track after setbacks. This frustration tolerance paired with passionate team spirit was identified by Heiko Herrlich in last summer's pre-season when the team and staff spent several hours climbing the Schmittenhöhe mountain in SalzburgerLand. "It won't be the last obstacle to face us that we need to overcome together," was the message at the time.

The Leverkusen head coach was able to take positives out of his team's performance against Augsburg on Easter Saturday, "but the result feels like a defeat,"  said the 46-year-old coach without beating about the bush. The only good thing about the situation: Bayer 04 still have every chance of achieving the target for the season ahead of the final six Bundesliga fixtures. "We've unnecessarily brought pressure upon ourselves but everything is still in our own hands," said goalkeeper Bernd Leno with regard to qualifying for Europe, ideally for the Champions League.

The fourth month of the year promises to be a thriller: In the forthcoming 04 league matches in April, Bayer 04 face the teams in fourth place (RB Leipzig/9.4.), sixth (Eintracht Frankfurt/14.4.), third (Borussia Dortmund/21.4.) and eighth (VfB Stuttgart/28.4.) in the current top-flight table. Heiko Herrlich has often compared the season with a marathon as it comes down to stamina. At the same time, there is an acute increase in pace amongst the participants as the home straight slowly draws into view. Now it comes down to creating a position in the clashes with direct rivals that keeps open all options in the run-in.

first half of the season source of hope

The Werkself clearly demonstrated in the first half of the season their ability to master the forthcoming challenges. There were no defeats in any of the four following encounters: Against Leipzig (2-2) and Dortmund (1-1), Bayer 04 earned a point with ten men with the Black and Reds winning the two games in Frankfurt (1-0) and Stuttgart (2-0). Julian Brandt, whose apparent winner against Augsburg was chalked off due to a VAR intervention, said straight after the goalless draw against the  Bavarian Swabians that he never thinks of giving up looking for the maximum return. "I'm always looking to achieve the best possible result and this season that's qualifying for the Champions league. We definitely want to achieve that target," said the Germany international.


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