The Werkself had the upper hand in the opening 15 minutes of the game but failed to take an early lead as the Union keeper Andreas Luthe was able to keep out Patrik Schick (10’) and Florian Wirtz (11’). The Black and Reds were finally rewarded for their efforts on 38 minutes: Luthe first saved a shot from Moussa Diaby after a great one-two with Paulinho but Schick was able to convert the rebound from a tight angle to make it 1-0 (38'). Union hit back out of the blue just before half-time with a goal from Grischa Prömel who had a tap-in after two impressive saves from Lukas Hradecky (45'). The Union Berlin midfielder was able to celebrate again a few minutes after the restart: Prömel only had to stick a foot out to meet a Max Kruse cross and the score was 2-1 (50'). The Seoane team pressed for the equaliser and created a number of promising chances but again and again failed to beat the outstanding Luthe. The relentless Leverkusen efforts were finally rewarded on 84 minutes with an equaliser at 2-2: Karim Bellarabi centred from the byline and Jonathan Tah rose to head the ball into the back of the net. HERE is the full match report.
"We started the game well and played with very high intensity and aggression," said Tah after the game before adding: "We had our chances but unfortunately we didn't make the most of them and then we conceded the goals." Midfielder Robert Andrich agreed: "I think we weren't determined enough in many situations," said the 27-year-old former Union Berlin player. "We could have definitely scored two or three goals in the first half. We created some good chances." In the second half, the team "struggled" and allowed the opposition too much space. However, the reaction of the players immediately after the equaliser was positive as Tah stressed: "We tried to take the lead at the end. The team spirit was there to win the game. That's what counts."
Head coach Gerardo Seoane commented on the game as follows: "We had a good first half and a lot of control with and without the ball. However, our finishing was not efficient enough. In the second half, the team were knocked off their stride by the goal conceded and our own mistakes." It was finally "rugged determination" that enabled the Black and Reds to level at 2-2. "I think," said the Werkself coach, "it was a fair draw."
There was good news for Bayer 04 ahead of the game: After a total of 314 days on the sidelines, Timothy Fosu-Mensah was in the Werkself squad for the first time since his torn cruciate in March of last year. Welcome back, Timothy. In addition, U19 youngster Sadik Fofana was in the senior squad for the first time. The 18-year-old remained on the bench like his Dutch teammate.
Key man at the back Jonathan Tah went the full distance in the 18th Bundesliga match of the current season. The 1.95 metre tall central defender scored his first goal in 2021/22 against Union to add to his three assists for the Werkself this term. It is also worth mentioning Gerardo Seoane’s great foresight on Saturday afternoon: The Swiss coach brought on goal provider Karim Bellarabi for Kerem Demirbay on 78 minutes and thereby set his team on course for the equaliser.
Patrik Schick has carried on in 2022 exactly where he left off in 2021: He scored the first Werkself goal of the year. The Czech Republic striker opened the scoring on 38 minutes with his 17th Bundesliga goal in his 15th match – what a sensational return. As is usual in the media, Schick has been associated several times with top European clubs following his outstanding performances under the Bayer Cross. Asked about these rumours, the 25-year-old said in an interview with BILD: "Of course, it's great to read about being associated with the big clubs. But I'm very, very happy at Leverkusen and I want to help take Bayer 04 into the Champions League."
‘Really close call' is the headline in the Welt am Sonntag and the paper identifies an impressive start from the Werkself: "Bayer are unable to maintain the tempo. Union turned the game around and looked like winners. Then came Tah." The BILD Zeitung reports a "really tight" draw. Leverkusen "clearly dominated" the first half but the Irons were however "brutally clinical". In the end, "Schick and Tah secure a point." In terms of marks for the Black and Reds, the two above-mentioned players receive the best assessment. With Union Berlin, the double goalscorer Grischa Prömel and goalkeeper Andreas Luthe, who kept Union in the game throughout the match with his impressive saves, were also marked as good. The Rheinische Post named the Bayer 04 captain Lukas Hradecky as the Man of the Match. The Finn "helped his team secure a point in the closing stages with impressive saves," reports the newspaper.
As TSG Hoffenheim beat FC Augsburg 3-1 and SC Freiburg also picked up a point in a 2-2 draw with Arminia Bielefeld, the Werkself drop down to fifth place at the start of the second half of the season. However, the race for Champions League qualification remains close. Only four points separate third and seventh place. The next fixture for the Werkself in the Bundesliga is on Saturday 15 January with an away game at Borussia Mönchengladbach, who beat Bayern Munich 2-1 on Friday night. The match at Borussia Park kicks off at 18.30 CET.
Why is healthy eating important? What positive effects can it have on everyday life? And what does a competitive athlete actually eat? These questions and many more were the focus of the latest Bayer 04 event as part of the neighbourhood games days. With a visit to GGS Kerschensteinerschule, Bayer 04 professionals Gustavo Puerta and Verena Wieder kicked off the third campaign match day of this Bundesliga season against VfL Bochum, which will be centred around the Küppersteg district. The duo were supported by nutritionist Lena Kadlec, who organised a workshop with the pupils.Show more
Bayer 04 are through to the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal after a 3-1 win over Paderborn in the round of 16. Victor Boniface opened the scoring before Exequiel Palacios doubled up inside the first half hour. Sebastian Klaas got one back for the visitors on 82 minutes, but Patrik Schick restored the two-goal lead a few moments later as Leverkusen extended their unbeaten start to 2023/24 to 21 matches.Show more
The Werkself host Paderborn in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 today, Wednesday 6 December (18:00 CET) at the BayArena. Here’s all the latest information ahead of the cup clash with the Bundesliga 2 club.Show more
The Bundesliga has announced its nominees for November’s Player of the Month, with two Werkself players up for the award in Alejandro Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong. Fans can now vote for who they want to win.Show more