The Werkself training ground was less busy on Monday morning. Heiko Herrlich and his fellow coaches had ten less first team players available due to the international break: Julian Brandt, Benjamin Henrichs and Bernd Leno are away with Germany, Julian Baumgartlinger, Aleksandar Dragovic (both Austria), Admir Mehmedi (Switzerland), Kevin Kampl (Slovenia) and Charles Aránguiz (Chile) are also with their national squads. The same applies to Jonathan Tah (Germany U21s) and Kai Havertz plus the two U19 youth players Atakan Akkaynak and Sam Schreck (Germany U19s). Joel Pohjanpalo, who had been called up by Finland, is ruled out after his hip injury suffered on Friday. He has started his rehab programme at the Werkstatt.
Heiko Herrlich almost missed the first training session in the international break. The Bayer 04 head coach had been in Hanover since Sunday with most of the other head coaches of Bundesliga clubs. The DFB held a coaches meeting on Monday with Germany coach Joachim Löw and DFB sporting director Horst Hrubesch plus the coaches of the Germany youth sides and national team manager Oliver Bierhoff also taking part. Herrlich did return to Leverkusen in time and was able to start preparations for this Thursday's friendly against VfL Bochum at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium at 15.00 CET.
For the open session in the afternoon there was an additional VIP on the training ground. A familiar face in Paulo Rink visited his former stomping ground – the 44-year-old German Brazilian played for Leverkusen from 1997 to 2002 scoring 34 goals in 119 appearances.
He was happy to take time out for a chat with bayer04.de: "I watched the game against Hoffenheim on Saturday and I’m always happy to be back here," declared the former striker who also earned 13 caps for Germany. "The time at Bayer 04 was the best part of my career in Germany. We had a great team, played in the Champions League and we always in and around the top of the Bundesliga. And both my boys were born here," said Rink. Except for the 1999/2000 season. "The story with Unterhaching still hurts today," he said. Rink is now actively involved in politics as a councillor in his home town of Curitiba. He always tries to get to Germany once a year. "I've lots of friends in Leverkusen and always like being here. It's great to see my old team-mates again like Hans-Peter Lehnhoff and Ulf Kirsten. And Harald Wohner (support staff and kit man) who is still working at Bayer 04 at the age of 82," said Rink.
As vice-president of a Brazilian fourth division club he also used the visit to his old home ground for other reasons: The Veterans team of his club is currently playing friendlies in Germany and are due to visit Leverkusen on Thursday. "The squad is mainly made up of business people. I'd like to show them where I used to play and train. But also show them how the club Bayer 04 Leverkusen is organised," said Rink who met up with Dirk Dreher on Monday to arrange a game against the Bayer 04 Veterans. The match will be played on Friday (15.00 CET). That will give him the opportunity to be back on the pitch with Hans-Peter Lehnhoff, Ulf Kirsten and Co.
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more