1-1 draw with Bremen in first home game of the year

Bayer 04 ended the first match at the BayArena in 2021 with a draw. The game against Werder Bremen finished all square at 1-1. The former Leverkusen player Ömer Toprak put the visitors ahead (52') and Patrik Schick scored the equaliser (70').

Peter Bosz was again able to call on Daley Sinkgraven following his positive coronavirus test and he played at the left side of the defence in place of the injured Mitchell Weiser. In contrast to the 2-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, Kerem Demirbay played from the start. Florian Wirtz was deliberately rested from the squad as a precaution having played a large number of games recently.

Werkself siege – Bremen remain stand firm

The Werkself dominated proceedings from the start and pressed the visitors from the North back onto the edge of their own penalty area. Moussa Diaby fired the first warning shot (2’) and shortly after that he ended a good move by setting up Leon Bailey but his attempted volley ended up in the arms of Werder keeper Jiri Pavlenka (9'). However, it was clear patience would be an important attribute on this afternoon. Bremen sat very deep and hardly left their own half as Bayer 04 were confronted with a tightly packed back five. The Werkself had little space to work in and the next dangerous shot on goal came with a long-range effort from Nadiem Amiri, which flew past the right-hand post (26') and then an effort from Demirbay went over the top of the target (32').

Bremen only came out of their shell in the middle of the first half. Joshua Sargent went close from a set piece (27'), Demirbay cleared in his own penalty area with a spectacular sliding tackle to deny Kevin Möhwald (29'). During the first half these were the exceptions as Bayer 04 besieged Bremen in their own half. The Werkself tried to break through the tight defence of the Green and Whites with Diaby and Bailey playing on the same flank or Patrik Schick dropping back into midfield. But Bayer 04 were unable to create any clear-cut opportunities on goal up to half-time.


Toprak uses first chance for Werder

Werder Bremen did not have a single shot at Lukas Hradecky's goal in the whole of the first half. That made it even more bitter for Bayer 04 that the first serious attempt by the North German side after the restart produced the opening goal for the visitors: A free kick from the right taken by Ludwig Augustinsson was met by former Leverkusen player Toprak of all people and he turned the ball into the net from close range to give Bremen a flattering 1-0 lead (52').

The Werkself, who did not have any problems dealing with Werder up to that point, were suddenly behind – and they immediately endeavoured to turn things round with a free kick from Demirbay narrowly missing the top corner of the Bremen goal (56'). Peter Bosz made changes bringing on Lars Bender for Sinkgraven and Lucas Alario for Diaby, Bayer 04 were now playing a 3-1-4-2 formation (61'). The new front two both had chances within a few seconds but neither Alario nor Schick could really threaten Pavlenka's goal.

Forward duo secure equaliser

The reorganisation by our coach quickly paid off with a co-production of the forward duo bringing the deserved leveller for the Werkself. Alario controlled a cross from Bailey in the box and then fed it to Schick. He beat Toprak and then his shot was deflected by Augustinsson into the back of the Bremen net (70'). The referee Benjamin Cortus initially disallowed the goal for an alleged handball by Alario so that VAR came into play. After almost three nervous minutes of waiting, the goal was confirmed and the two sides were level.

The pattern of the game did not change as Bayer 04 continued to press forward in a determined effort to secure victory. A volley from Julian Baumgartlinger flew over the target (79'). The Werkself pressed hard in the closing stages with both Edmond Tapsoba and Aleksandar Dragovic getting involved up front. Bremen were now playing with all eleven players in their own box as they defended with great passion. The visitors almost always got part of their body in the way – including the arm of Jean-Manuel Mbom on one occasion but there was no penalty and the final chance for a winner for the Werkself was denied (90+ 1').

Bayer 04 remain third in the table after Bundesliga matchday 15. The Werkself will be looking for the first win in 2021 on Tuesday 12 January. Eintracht Frankfurt are the visitors to the BayArena in the second round of the DFB Cup with a 20.45 CET kick-off. This offers the chance to take revenge for the league defeat in Frankfurt.

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Hradecky – Dragovic, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven (L. Bender 61') – Demirbay, Baumgartlinger, Amiri – Bailey, Schick, Diaby (Alario 61')

Werder Bremen: Pavlenka - Gebre Selassie, Veljkovic, Toprak, Friedl, Augustinsson - Eggestein, Mbom, Möhwald (Schmid 81') - Sargent (Füllkrug 81'), Chong (Selke 60’)

Goals: 0-1 Toprak (52’), 1-1 Schick (70’)

Booked: Schick, Demirbay - Augustinsson, Mbom

Referee: Benjamin Cortus (Röthenbach a. d. Pegnitz)

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