The call of the mountains
It was to be an active morning for the coaching and support staff plus the other Bayer 04 officials who had travelled to Zell am See. The bus left the team hotel at seven in the morning in the direction of the Kitzbühel Alps. The journey ended at the feet of the Schmittenhöhe at a height of around 900 metres. With backpacks filled with supplies and led by a mountain guide the only way was up for the Werkself – hopefully an appropriate metaphor. The aim was to reach the peak at 2,000 metres - at this point still shrouded in mist. After a four-hour walk, interspersed with stops at one or two mountain huts, the wayfarers of the black and red group reached the top. Exhausted but happy. The group was rewarded with an impressive view of the idyllic Zell am See. "The fact we've come up here with the whole team and all the staff sends out a message. It's not the last summit we need to conquer together," said coach Heiko Herrlich in describing the reason for the activity. For players like the Jamaican Leon Bailey it was a special experience. He'd never climbed a mountain before or been at such a height. Down from the summit, Heiko Herrlich gave his players the rest of the day off – the pros used their time to sleep or spend time in the wellness area at the hotel.
Three birthday boys
Counting the players and coaches together, there were 31 members of the Werkself in Zell am See/Kaprun. Some coincidence that three of them celebrated their birthdays on Friday: Reserve keeper Niklas Lomb was 24, goalkeeping coach David Thiel was born 33 years ago and assistant coach Xaver Zembrod celebrated birthday number 51. At the communal evening meal they were serenaded by the squad and they provided a short response at the request of the team.
Fan meeting in team hotel
70 Werkself fans found their way to the team hotel in the afternoon. They were responding to an invitation from Bayer 04 CEO Michael Schade, the director for fans and social affairs Meinolf Sprink and fan liaison officer Frank Linde. After a welcome address from Michael Schade, the travelling Bayer 04 fans were able to enjoy cakes and hot and cold drinks, and chat in the Werkself dining area for a couple of hours.
Reiner Calmund pays a visit
Friday afternoon saw another VIP guest pay a visit to the team hotel Tauern Spa. The former Bayer 04 general manager Reiner Calmund used the opportunity to catch up with old friends and acquaintances – conversational partners included Heiko Herrlich and Bayer 04 sporting director Rudi Völler.
04 questions for Vlad Yurchenko
Our number 22, Vladlen Yurchenko, took time out on Friday to be the next player to answer 04 questions.
#B04inAustria –For all the news and updates
Using the hashtag #B04inAustria it is possible to keep up-to-date with #Werkself and #Bayer 04 round-the-clock. There are also daily, exclusive stories from the heart of the team on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. It's worth taking a look.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen have given U17 player Francis Onyeka a long-term contact. The club has agreed a deal with the 16-year-old to 30 June 2027.Show more
#B04eSports team suffered the first defeat of the season on matchday five in the VBL Club Championship 2023/24. Last night’s other games ended in a win and a draw. The Black and Reds are now fifth in the North West division.Show more
BK Häcken have yet to gain a point in Group H. The club from Gothenburg entertain the Werkself on Thursday 30 November (kick-off: 21.00 CET). Häcken will be looking to improve their record in the last European home game of the year against the group leaders.Show more
Bayer 04 celebrate a special anniversary next year. 1 July 1904 saw the foundation of the sports club from the paint factories called the ‘Turn- und Spielverein der Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. in Leverkusen’Show more
The Werkself beat Werder Bremen 3-0 on Bundesliga matchday 12 and again succeeded in holding on to top spot in the table as well as setting a new Bundesliga and club record. The facts, stats and reaction to the away win in Bremen is here in the Werkself review.Show more