Kai Havertz is 17 years old but he is like a first-team regular in front of goal. On 24 minutes, he won the ball in the box and tucked it away in confident manner. That was a high point of an already emotional week as his strike was the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win against Fortuna Köln. "The win was absolutely deserved," said Roger Schmidt after the game.
Collecting match practice
The Werkself head coach not only had to make a number of changes for the friendly against the third division club due to injury but also due to the absence of first team players away on international duty. That meant several players had the opportunity to get time on the pitch after several weeks on the sidelines. "The match was ideal for Danny da Costa, Lukas Boeder, Niklas Lomb and Roberto Hilbert," said Schmidt. They all played for 90 minutes and "proved they were in good shape and that I can count on them." One particular good piece of news: Vladlen Yurchenko celebrated his comeback after two months ruled out with injury.
The first decent chance of the game fell to Stefan Kießling. The impressive Fortuna goalkeeper Tim Boss kept out the Werkself striker on 16 minutes and shortly after that he was stretched by a failed attempt to clear by captain Florian Hörnig on 22 minutes. Boss was left helpless by a well hit shot from Havertz. At the other end, Lomb pulled off a great reflex save to keep out former Karlsruhe second division pro Selcuk Alibaz to protect the 1-0 lead on 37 minutes.
Schmidt introduced another six U19 youngsters over the course of the second half to give them time with the first team players and they justified his confidence with the best chance after the break. On 84 minutes Simon Rhein put the sub Ufumwen Osawe through in the opposition box and his shot from a tight angle hit the bar. With Lomb keeping a clean sheet, the match ended in a deserved 1-0 victory for Bayer 04.
"I was happy with the game, said Roger Schmidt: "You could see they enjoyed playing and, in spite of a hard week, the players definitely wanted to win the match." As expected, the coach has given his team three days off with the next training session at the BayArena taking place on Monday at 10.00 CET.
Bayer 04: Lomb – Hilbert, Boeder, Abu Hanna (Nesseler 46’ ), da Costa – Akkaynak (Bednarczyk 77’), Yurchenko (Rhein 60’) – Havertz, Harenbrock (Yalcin 60’), Wendell (Osawe 60’) – Kießling (Shala 77’)
Goals: 1-0 Havertz (24’)
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