7.07.2022Bayer 04

Frey ahead of friendly against former club Bayer 04: 'Lifelong affinity'

Here we go again: The Werkself play the first friendly in the current preseason ahead of the 2022/23 campaign on Saturday 9 July. The team under head coach Gerardo Seoane play third division MSV Duisburg in Velbert at 15.30 CEST – with Marlon Frey in their team who progressed through the youth ranks under the Bayer Cross where he was also able to make his Bundesliga debut...

In an interview with, the 26-year-old versatile defender talks about his deep-rooted connection to the Werkself, friends for ever from his time in Black and Red and the forthcoming match against his former club...

Marlon, you were at Leverkusen for 14 years. What does Bayer 04 mean to you now?

Frey: A lot! I joined Leverkusen at the age of seven, went through all the youth teams and later made it to the first team squad. And then being able to make your Bundesliga debut for your own club as a youth player definitely ensures an affinity for life.

Looking at your right elbow you can say: Bayer 04 is still getting under your skin…

Frey: You could put it like that. (He laughs) About a year after my first Bundesliga match I got a tattoo with the date of my debut. All my tattoos have a special significance for me – either in relation to the family or to football. So that fitted in really well…


Even though it's just a friendly: Do you feel a bit more motivation for Saturday because it's against your former club?

Frey: Motivation with all of us has been extremely high from the first day of the preseason. It doesn't depend on a certain opponent as it's all about where you start in the season. For me it's more about great excitement at meeting up again with a lot of familiar faces from back then.

There are one or two of your former Leverkusen teammates in the current Werkself squad. Are you still in contact with teammates from back then?

Frey: Yes, with a few. I often write to Lombo (goalkeeper Niklas Lomb, ed.). But I was also good friends with Julian (Brandt) and Kai (Havertz) and I'm still in contact with them. And there are still a lot of people working on the staff or in the medical section who were there during my time at Leverkusen.



In a good mood: Marlon Frey, Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt (l. to r.) on the pitch at the BayArena.

You are in the middle of the preseason with MSV while Bayer 04 have only been together for a week and a lot of international players are only coming back now. What sort of game are you expecting in Velbert on Saturday?

Frey: Individual quality is definitely higher at Leverkusen than with us and they aren't in the Champions League for no reason. Although we are perhaps a bit further on in the preseason we definitely won't be fully fit for the match. But we will make it as hard as possible for them to beat us in the friendly.

You were involved in a relegation battle with Duisburg last season until just before the end. What's your assessment of your preseason so far and what are your targets for the coming season?

Frey: I've been very impressed so far. Everybody's putting in a shift, we are working hard and we have trained twice almost every day for the past three weeks. Intensity is very high for us and that makes us feel good for the forthcoming challenges.

You have three strong opponents in the friendlies in Bayer 04, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Athletic Bilbao. Is that a preseason you like?

Frey: Definitely. I’m at an age where you should have big targets and lots of years ahead of you. It’s a couple of years since I played in the Bundesliga but I obviously have the target of getting back to that level once again. As a competitive sportsman you always want to go to the limit – and also always play against the best.

The Werkself play the first friendly in preparation for the 2022/23 season against MSV Duisburg on Saturday 9 July. The match against the third division team at the IMS Arena in Velbert kicks off at 15.30 CEST. The ticket office opens two hours before kick-off at 13.30 CEST. All proceeds from the friendly go to SSVg Velbert.

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