The news was a bombshell: Overnight from Sunday to Monday, twelve top European clubs officially announced their intention to form a so-called ‘Super League’. The clubs from England, Italy and Spain are intending to run the competition on weekdays. At the weekend they want to continue to play in their national leagues.
Immediately after the announcement, numerous clubs and officials from across Europe criticised this project. FIFA and UEFA are also against the introduction of a Super League. Leverkusen's sporting managing director Rudi Völler did not mince his words. The 61-year-old said to the Bild newspaper: “A closed shop is a crime against football. Anybody who wants to play in this league should be thrown out of all national leagues. With all their teams. The youth teams, the women's teams – all of them have to go!" Völler said in relation to the two possible Super League participants from Germany: "The fact Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are not joining in shows they've got a backbone."
Better news from the Werkself camp – and what news it was. The 3-0 derby win in the home game against FC Köln unleashed great emotion amongst Werkself players, coaches, officials, staff and fans. Bayer 04 won both games against FC Köln in a season for the first time since 2008/09.
The target for the 66th Bundesliga meeting with the team from Cologne was clearly expressed by the Werkself head coach Hannes Wolf at the pre-match press conference on Friday: "It's about the next derby win!" Said and done!
Leon Bailey opened the scoring early on at the BayArena (5'), Moussa Diaby (51’) and the Jamaican again (76’) secured the final score of 3-0 in the second half. Over the course of the second 45 minutes, with the Werkself already on course for victory in the derby, chants from the fans could be heard at the BayArena. Around 80 Black and Red supporters gathered on Bismarckstraße. Maintaining social distance and wearing masks, they cheered and sang for the 26th derby win in the top-flight.
After the final whistle, Charles Aránguiz and Co. thanked the fans: The Werkself assembled on the pitch in front of the East Stand and applauded loudly. A successful partnership between team and supporters adhering to the rules and restrictions due to the pandemic – and a great end to a successful derby Saturday.
For the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, two-goal Leon Bailey was the 'Man of the Match' and the 'Best Player on the Pitch'. His performance earned the Jamaican top marks and the same assessment in the kicker. The Rheinische Post gave Bailey top marks and he was also in the team of the day in the Bild and kicker. Other top marks went to Moussa Diaby, scorer of the second goal, as well as defensive stalwart Sven Bender.
In order to provide the best possible and safe working environment, Bayer 04 worked in partnership with the German Red Cross plus volunteers on Saturday to provide voluntary, free coronavirus tests for the first time for all members of staff and journalists. Around 80 people were tested ahead of the derby.
Tests will be available for further Werkself home games as with the clash with Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, 24 April (kick-off: 18.30 CET).
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