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1.04.2021Bayer 04

Games of the month: Defensive battle and biggest home win

Bayer 04 are seven points behind fifth-placed Schalke 04 in April 1996. On Tuesday, 9 April, the Werkself can get within four points of a UEFA Cup spot with a win at Schalke. At the same time, looking in the opposite direction and being thirteenth in the table, the situation is critical as there is only a five-point gap to the drop zone.

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Bayer 04 take the lead on six minutes through Ulf Kirsten and lose two players within 30 seconds on 28 minutes after second yellow cards: Markus Münch and the goalscorer. A third Werkself player is sent off on 63 minutes when Carsten Ramelow gets his marching orders. The seven outfield players battle for 30 minutes in and around the penalty area to deny an equaliser. Wave after wave of attacks roll towards the Bayer 04 goal. Schalke only manage to level the scores at 1-1 on 89 minutes. Bayer 04 are in a relegation battle up to the end of the season and only finally avoid the drop on the final matchday. But more on that next month…

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Werkself score historic goal

The 2003/04 season gets off to a very good start. Bayer 04 are in the leading group straightaway and are third at the end of the first half of the season on 35 points, level with second-placed Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart in fourth, and only four points behind league leaders Werder Bremen. But form drops off after the winter break with just one point picked up in six games.

At the home game against VfL Wolfsburg, the North Stand is empty for the first 15 minutes as the fans protest with a banner left on the fence: “We don’t support alibi football.” The response from the team comes after a few seconds when Dimitar Berbatov scores the opener. The game ended in a 4-2 victory for the Werkself.

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That was the start of the race to get to the Champions League spots, which included a 6-0 victory over FC Kaiserslautern that remains the biggest Bundesliga home win for Bayer 04.The Werkself end the league campaign in third place and qualify for the Champions League.

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