25.01.2021Bayer 04

News in brief: Tapsoba best defender in first half of the season

Kicker has published its ranking of German football, reduced numbers at training today, and the two former Leverkusen players now at Mainz, Danny da Costa and Dominic Kohr, helped Bayer 04 out at the weekend. That and more in today's news in brief.

The sports journal Kicker published its six-monthly ranking of German football at the start of the week – and Edmond Tapsoba was named the best Bundesliga defender. The 21-year-old finished in first place ahead of Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) and Matthias Ginter (Borussia Mönchengladbach) in the second highest category of 'International class'– the 'World class' section was left blank.

"The 21-year-old is not only a regular first choice at Bayer but also a consistent key player and he has impressed with his strength in challenges, his defensive heading game, his pace and he is also strong in build-up play," praised the Kicker experts but they also see potential room for improvement: "What Tapsoba is still missing is a goal threat at set pieces and he still hasn't scored in the league." Jonathan Tah is in ninth position in the 'National class' and he has positive feedback primarily for his development in opening up play and his "healthy aggression."

Baumi ranked in ‘International class’

Bayer 04 are also represented in the defensive midfield category: Julian Baumgartlinger is in fifth place in the 'International class'. His development as a key performer is highlighted after Aránguiz was sidelined and he also ensured "balance and not just because of his enormous strength and challenges."

Kicker ranking: Wirtz ahead of Amiri

In attacking midfield, Florian Wirtz is in fourth place in the 'National class'. The journal reports: "He is the high flyer in his position… Wirtz shows incredible consistency although he only turned 18 at the beginning of May. Leverkusen's talent likes being on the ball, is calm in possession and resolves tricky attacking situations with thought. However, there are one or two things missing at international level that prevents a higher classification." Nadiem Amiri is in eighth place in the same class.

In attack, Lucas Alario is in the 'International class' in eighth ("Twelve goals, mainly second choice at Bayer after the return of Patrik Schick”) and Schick is eleventh (‘National class’).

Reduced number at training

There were fewer players on the training ground on Monday morning. Peter Bosz and his coaching staff used the lack of midweek fixtures to control the physical demands by giving players who have frequently started recently and played a large number of minutes, an additional day off to recover. That meant only twelve players were at the full training session at the start of the week. The whole group will be together again on Tuesday. After a day off training on Wednesday, focus will then be fully on the Saturday night game at RB Leipzig on 30 January (18.30 CET). All sessions are behind closed doors.




Two homegrown players now at Mainz 05

What are Danny da Costa and Dominik Kohr doing these days? Both moved from Eintracht Frankfurt to Mainz 05 last week. Domme and Danny came through the ranks in the Bayer 04 youth section at Kurtekotten and ended up playing for the senior squad. And although both made their first appearances in a Mainz shirt at the weekend, they both helped out the Werkself. Thanks to their 3-2 win against RB Leipzig, Bayer 04 are still only three points behind Leipzig in second place despite losing to VfL Wolfsburg. On the other hand, the Werkself can feel the Wolves breathing down their necks after matchday 18 – as they are now in fourth place level on 32 points.

Recruitment for the U19s

The Bayer 04 U19s are already planning beyond this season and Dominik Burghard has been signed from the VfL Bochum U17s. The 16-year-old will join Leverkusen in the summer of 2021. In the current suspended season, Burghard played in all four games in the U17 Bundesliga West. The left-footer is a central defender.



Happy Birthday tooo yoouuu....

Three cheers today for Lennart Grill. The Werkself reserve keeper and Germany U21 goalkeeper is 22. Grill shares his birthday with Bayer 04 legend Stefan Kießling who turned 37 on Monday. After ending his playing career, Kies took up a position at the Werkself as adviser to the sporting management. Since last summer, as 'professional coordinator', he has taken care of organisational matters relating to the senior squad. Former Bayer 04 player (1983-88), and UEFA Cup winner in 1988, Thomas Zechel celebrates his 56th birthday. Many happy returns to all three.


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