30.11.2018Bayer 04

Schreck debut for the pros, Özcan in the Europa League

Last night, the Werkself took the next step towards winning the group in the Europa league with a 1-1 draw in the home game against Ludogorets. And youngster Sam Schreck can also be happy about the next step: The 19-year-old, who has been in the first team squad at Bayer 04 since the start of the season, made his first appearance for Leverkusen in a competitive match.

The blonde forward was up and down the wings for 73 minutes before making way for Kai Havertz. On 48 minutes,  the Pinneberg-born player, signed from the FC St Pauli youth team in 2016 (50 U19 appearances, 14 goals) plus two recent  U 20 international caps for Germany (one goal), had the first chance in the second half  but his  shot from a tight angle landed just the wrong side of the post. "Sam had a very decent performance," praised Heiko Herrlich after the youngster's first appearance.

50 European games for Lars Bender

And the meeting with Ludogorets was also special for two other players: Ramazan 'Rambo' Özcan was in goal in a Europa League match for the first time. For that reason, the 34-year-old Austrian secured the match ball after the final whistle. Lars Bender (introduced on 63 minutes) made his 50th appearance on the European stage last night –  28 games in the Champions League and 22 in the Europa League. The Werkself skipper has worn the Bayer 04 shirt in all his European matches.

There was a tragic conclusion to the first game of the season for Panagiotis Retsos. The 20-year-old, who suffered a broken hand and a torn right thigh ligament in the pre-season, made his comeback against Ludogorets. Unfortunately, the central defender suffered an injury in a challenge on the half-hour mark and he had to go off with a suspected muscle injury – the exact extent of the injury will be revealed with an MRI scan today.

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