Without the nine players on international duty plus Leon Bailey, who is still in quarantine after a private party, the Werkself were led out for the only pre-season friendly by the new captain Charles Aránguiz. The visitors came into the game with plenty of match practice – the Belgian league started at the beginning of August. The results to date for the team eighth in the league: one win, three draws.
Bayer 04 made the better start in the friendly. Exequiel Palacios put the Werkself ahead on six minutes with a curler from ten yards out. Anderlecht did compete well and the game developed into an evenly-balanced encounter. Mohammed Dauda scored the equaliser for RSC in the middle of the first half. The Ghanaian beat Niklas Lomb in goal for Bayer 04 against the Belgians in place of Lukas Hradecky as the Finn is away on international duty (21’). The goalscorer had the chance to put his side ahead a quarter of an hour later but he put his shot just past the right-hand post. It was all-square at half-time.
Head coach Peter Bosz made two changes to his line-up at the break: Florian Wirtz came on for goalscorer Palacios, Wendell replaced Daley Sinkgraven at left-back. The 17-year-old Wirtz led the way in livening up the attack. Also due to the intensive training sessions of the past few days, there were few decent goalscoring opportunities for the Werkself in the second half. As Anderlecht were also unable to find the back of the net, the match ended in a deserved draw.
“It was a very good friendly against a strong team,” said Bosz after the game. “That was fun. Of course, they are much further on as they’ve already played four matches. But we did a good job. I’m happy.”
The Werkself are back in competitive action next week in the first round of the DFB Cup. On Sunday, 13 September (kick-off: 15.30 CET/live on Sky and Werks11 Radio), the Regional League North outfit Eintracht Norderstedt visit the BayArena.
Bayer 04: Lomb – L. Bender (Weiser 68’), S. Bender (Retsos 68’), Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (Wendell 46’) – Aránguiz (Türkmen 89’), Demirbay – Bellarabi, Palacios (Wirtz 46’), Amiri – Alario (Onur 89’)
Goals: 1-0 Palacios (6’), 1-1 Dauda (21’)
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