11.08.2018Bayer 04

Werkself lose final pre-season friendly at Valencia

Bayer 04 suffer first defeat in the pre-season away to Spanish Champions League participants FC Valencia. The Werkself lost 3-0 at the Estadio Mestalla.

The game was part of the traditional 'Trofeo Naranja', a summer tournament staged by the hosts, and it proved to be a tough test for the Werkself ahead of next Saturday's first competitive match of the new season in the DFB Cup.

Heiko Herrlich had to manage in Valencia without Lukas Hradecky  (rehab after jaw operation), Panos Retsos (thigh ligament strain), Joel Pohjanpalo (circulation problems in right ankle), Karim Bellarabi (cruciate) plus Charles Aránguiz and Leon Bailey. The last two have completed individual training sessions this week on their way back from knee and shoulder problems but the trip to Valencia came too early.

Both teams played at a fair tempo in front of a crowd of 40,000 in temperatures of around 30 degrees. The  Werkself keeper Rambo Özcan shone for the first time after just six minutes when he pulled off a great save to keep out a header by Kondogbia. The first chance for Bayer 04 came a minute later with an initial effort from Kevin Volland - his left-foot shot from 18 yards out went just wide of the target.

Valencia clinical

Valencia gradually gained the upper hand and the next decent chance fell to Soler but Wendell was able to make the block on 23 minutes. Five minutes later, the  'Blanquinegros' - fourth in La Liga last season - took the lead through Santi Mina who turned the ball into the far corner of the net after a back-heel from Garay  - there was nothing Özcan could do. With the lead under their belt, the hosts dominated proceedings and with 36 minutes gone they doubled the lead through Rodrigo as he exploited a misunderstanding  between Özcan and his fellow defenders.

Julian Brandt did have a good opportunity to score but his free kick from the left of the box went wide of the left upright on 43 minutes. Valencia took a 2-0 lead into the break.

Bayer 04 clearly played with greater intensity after the restart, putting in more robust challenges and applying more pressure up front. The Werkself now had  much more possession. Kai Havertz (52') and Brandt (56') tested the Valencia substitute goalkeeper Neto with shots from distance, and the Spanish keeper also denied Volland when he saved a free kick from the striker on 62 minutes.

The hosts conceded space to the Werkself but Bayer 04 rarely threatened in the final third. Heiko Herrlich made five changes at the break including the introduction of Isaac Kiese Thelin, the Swedish striker signed this week. However, the Werkself were unable to create any further chances. The hosts sealed the victory with four minutes to play with a headed goal from Lee making it 3-0.

Bayer 04 have the first competitive game of the new season on Saturday 18 August.  The Werkself are away in the DFB Cup at  Baden-Württemberg Oberliga side  CfR Pforzheim.

FC Valencia: Jaume (Neto 46')- Piccini (Lee 76'), Garay (Ruben Vezo 65'), Paulista (Diakhaby 46'), Gaya (Lato 65')- Soler (Murillo 78'), Parejo, Kondogbia (Ferran Torres 35'), Wass (Racic 83')- Rodrigo (Escobar 83'), Santi Mina (Zaza 65').

Bayer 04: Özcan - Weiser (Henrichs 71'), Tah, S. Bender (Dragovic 71'), Wendell  - Baumgartlinger, L. Bender (Kohr 65')- Volland, Havertz (Kiese Thelin 71'), Brandt (Paulinho 65') - Alario.

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