21.10.2020Bayer 04

News in brief: Werkself at UHS, Nice at the BayArena

Two dozen players took part in Bayer 04’s final pre-match training session ahead of the Europa League home game against OGC Nice on Thursday 22 October (kick-off: 18.55 CEST); the visitors from the south of France completed their final session at the BayArena. Plus, sporting director Simon Rolfes talked about the targets for the Black and Reds in Europe: Wednesday’s news in brief.

Sunshine returned to Leverkusen on Wednesday afternoon just in time for the final Werkself training session ahead of the clash with Nice. 21 outfield players plus three goalkeepers were welcomed by head coach Peter Bosz at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium. Florian Wirtz, who was recently sidelined with a stomach muscle injury, was also on the training ground along with Tin Jedvaj who has recovered from illness. Also with the group: the trio of youth players Emrehan Gedikli, Samed Onur and Cem Türkmen plus Mitchell Weiser, who is not named in the Europa League squad. The skipper Charles Aránguiz was sidelined.


Vieira: we know Leverkusen’s strengths

The Werkself’s next opponents from the south of France landed at Cologne/Bonn airport on Wednesday morning. A few hours later, head coach Patrick Vieira and key defender Dante attended the press conference at the media centre at the BayArena. The latter, who spent seven years playing in Germany (including for Bayern Munich), knows the qualities of the Werkself: “I still regularly watch the Bundesliga. Bayer 04 have a young and quick team. We know it will be a tough game for us,” said the 37-year-old.



His coach Vieira, who has brought Nice back onto the European stage after three years, wants to play a high press against the Black and Reds. The former player: “We have to win the ball high up the pitch and be fully focused on the game. Because we know the strengths of Leverkusen.” It remains to be seen whether striker Kasper Dolberg, who Bosz knows from his time at Ajax, will be able to play. “He feels good overall. But we will wait to make a decision about the line-up on the day of the game,” Vieira added.

Croat referees clash with Nice

The opening fixture in the Europa League for the Werkself will be refereed by the Croatian match official Fran Jovic. The first time the 36-year-old officiated the Black and Reds was almost exactly six years ago: On 22 October 2014, Jovic was in charge of a game involving the Bayer 04 U19s in the UEFA Youth League. The Werkself youth team lost 4-1 to Zenit St Petersburg at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium. The Leverkusen U19s beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 at the same venue in October 2016 – also with the Croat in charge.

In this year’s Europa League qualifiers, Jovic refereed the game between AC Milan and FK Bodö/Glimton 24 September. The former Werkself player Hakan Calhanoglu scored twice in the 3-2 victory for AC Milan against the Norwegian side.

The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) will only be used in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Rolfes on Europa League targets

At the start of the week, Bayer 04 sporting director Simon Rolfes spoke about the targets in the European competition on RTL Nitro. “Even though we have respect for our opponents, it is clearly our minimum target to reach the knockout stages,” said the 38-year-old. The other opponents in the Werkself group are Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) and Hapoel Beer Sheva from Israel.

Women: New team photo

Following the successful start for the Bayer 04 women in the new season in the FLYERALARM Women’s Bundesliga, the much changed squad – the management have signed ten new players – gathered for the official team photograph a few days ago. With eleven points secured to date, the players of the fifth-placed team had good reason to smile:


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