15.04.2021Bayer 04

News in brief: Wolf can celebrate – Bayer 04 aiming for a billion

A birthday, 500 million Bayer 04 GIFs and pioneering work in Rwanda – Thursday's news in brief.

The focus for the Werkself after the final whistle in the goalless draw at TSG Hoffenheim is already on the next Bundesliga fixture, the derby against FC Köln on Saturday 17 April (kick-off: 18.30 CEST). There was an intensive training session on Thursday. This time Hannes Wolf ran the session at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium. For the Werkself head coach it was the first training session in a new decade in his life; the Bochum-born coach celebrates his 40th birthday two days before #B04KOE.

And although Wolf is one of the youngest Bundesliga coaches (only four are younger), he is already an old hand in the coaching business with his experience: Since his start in 2016 at VfB Stuttgart, Wolf has been in the dugout for 102 professional football matches.

Bayer 04 wish the head coach many happy returns on his 40th birthday and, of course, three points for the Werkself in his first derby.

Giphy: Bayer 04 break 500 million barrier

The Werkself launched their own club channel on the social media platform Giphy at the start of 2016. Just a little more than four years later, the gigantic milestone of half a billion GIFs, produced by Bayer 04, has been achieved. The animated short videos are used on Twitter and Facebook, as stickers in Snapchat and Instagram stories as well as direct messages via WhatsApp.

Not only the Werkself GIFs are very popular. Those of the Bayer 04 Women and Brian the Lion are too. The Werkself have uploaded almost 3,000 GIFs in the past five years. Giphy is an important platform for engaging fans and followers on the club social media platforms in an entertaining way. And Bayer 04 have the next target in sight: one million.

Happy birthday, Teddy Lučić!

Swedish players our a true rarity in the history of the Werkself. In addition to Isaac Kiese Thelin and Fredrik Stenman, Teddy Lučić is one of only three Swedes who have played for Leverkusen to date. The latter celebrates his 40th birthday on this Thursday. The Swedish defender, who joined the Werkself from AIK Solna in 2003/04, made 13 appearances for Bayer 04 in 18 months and also demonstrated his qualities in defence for the second team six times. Happy birthday, Teddy.

Football pioneering work in Rwanda

Thorsten Judt works for the Werkself in the Soccer School and Community Affairs section and he normally organises football camps for Bayer 04 across Germany. Judt, whose football roots also lie in Leverkusen, has been sharing his expertise beyond the borders of Germany recently. The 49-year-old recently worked in Rwanda on behalf of the Football Club Social Alliance (FCSA) doing pioneering work in football. The aim of FCSA, which Bayer 04 are involved in, is to train women and men in areas of crisis and former conflicts to become youth coaches. Football is associated with values such as fair play, tolerance and fun with sport and the idea is to bring that to regions that are disrupted by political strife or warlike circumstances.

After Thorsten Judt completed sporting development work in Lebanon, the project in Rwanda was another complete success: 85 men and women received certificates as youth coaches and mentors after many educational and training sessions from the FSCA instructors. Looking back, Judt is both thoughtful and happy: "When you see the circumstances there and the poverty of the people then you learn again to value humility and gratitude. It was great to see how people can have such pleasure with small things."

Questionnaire: Fans continue to support games behind closed doors

A large majority of sports fans continue to support games behind closed doors in the Bundesliga. In a questionnaire carried out by kicker, 76% of over 900 participants approved matches being played with out fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. 23% of fans said they had increased their media consumption a sport during the pandemic.

German football loses one of its biggest decision-makers

The world of football in Germany is mourning the loss of one its biggest organisers and strategists. Hans-Georg Noack, known in particular through his function as the Bundesliga match organiser with the German Football Association (DFB) from 1986 to 2001, passed away on Tuesday in Düsseldorf at the age of 92.

Before the era of digitalisation, Noack worked for 15 years in organising the fixtures for Germany's top flight – and that sometimes involved using a ruler and pencil. His commitment and dedication to German football went far beyond that: Before his time as Bundesliga match organiser he was a member of the DFB match committee for seven years and also the president of Fortuna Düsseldorf at the beginning of the 1980s.

Bayer 04 thank Hans-Georg Noack for his self-sacrificing service to German football and offer sincere condolences to all family members.

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