2.01.2020Bayer 04

Werkself set to kick off 2020

The Bayer 04 players have used the festive break for rest and recovery as head coach Peter Bosz prepares to lead the first training session of the New Year at the BayArena tomorrow (Friday 3 January). Read on for the first news in brief of the year.

The Werkself senior squad are set to return to training ground on the west side of the stadium for the first time in 2020 around 11.30 CET on Friday. Lars Bender (muscular problems) and Mitchell Weiser (ankle injury) are expected to join their team-mates on the training ground but they are likely to complete a more relaxed session. The South Americans Lucas Alario, Paulinho, Charles Aránguiz, Wendell, new signing Exequiel Palacios plus the Jamaican Leon Bailey will not be there. They are all heading straight to La Manga in Spain for the Bayer 04 winter training camp that starts on Saturday 4 January. The Werkself kick off the second half of the Bundesliga season on 18 January with an away game at promoted club SC Paderborn 07 (kick-off: 18.00 CET).

Kicker nominates Hradecky

The Black and Reds conceded the fourth-lowest number of goals (21) in the first half of the Bundesliga season. Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky played a big part in that achievement. His impressive performances in the second half of 2019 have been recognised by the Kicker sports journal with his inclusion in the team of the first half of the season. The Finn had an average mark of 2.68. The 30-year old is joined by Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) and Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) in the top eleven – with an average of 2.44, the two top strikers in the league were the only ones have a better rating then Hradecky.

Adler praises the number one

“At the end of the first half of the season he almost secured all of Leverkusen’s points on his own – including in Europe,” praised the pundit and former Leverkusen keeper Rene Adler. The Werkself shot-stopper was named fourth in the Kicker rankings in the international category. Only the FC Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer was above him with the Germany number one being ranked as world class.

Sven Bender in third spot

No world class or international class ratings in the position of central defender – the Kicker did not choose anybody in the two categories. Werkself defender Sven Bender in ranked third. “He has improved immensely is now the absolute leader in his team,” was the verdict of the editorial board. His partner Jonathan Tah was in the international category in the summer. He is not included in the latest ratings. The reason given: “A poor first half of the season where he lacked assurance and energy.” Let’s cross our fingers that he can rediscover his form of last season in the second half of this campaign.

BILD: Team of the decade

The decade of the 2010s is over. The BILD tabloid has selected a Bundesliga team of the decade. This includes three current Bayer 04 players in Kai Havertz, Lars Bender and Charles Aránguiz; in Stefan Kießling and Simon Rolfes there are two former players now members of the club’s management. The eleven also includes world stars Toni Kroos, Arturo Vidal and Heung-Min Son. Bayer 04 player Julian Baumgartlinger is named in the FSV Mainz 05 team of the decade.

Volland donates

Now that’s what you call a debut! For the first time, Bayer 04 striker Kevin Volland took part in celebrity curling in Oberstdorf in Bavaria – and he was in the winning team ‘Hape KerCurling’ with his best friends. The Germany international said tongue-in-cheek: “You need good coordination and we’ve all got that.” Much more important than the sporting success was the background to the event: 2,000 euros went to the St. Maria in Kalzhofen children’s home, and 500 euros to the youth section at Volland’s hometown club FC Thalhofen. The same amount was donated to the youth section at EC Oberstdorf. A great event that Volland would like to take part in again in 2020 if the fixture list permits.

All the best!

For Werkself player Julian Baumgartlinger, there is more to celebrate in the new year: The defender, who joined Leverkusen from Mainz in 2016, is 32 today (Thursday). Former Bayer 04 player Hanno Balitsch (2002 to 2005 and 2010 to 2012), who will be 39, and Jakub Bednarczyk also celebrate their birthdays. The latter, now 21, left the Black and Reds for FC St Pauli in January 2019. Many happy returns!

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