#B04WOB – Countdown to first home game

The Werkself are at the BayArena on Saturday for the first home match in Bundesliga season number 56. After the defeat in the opener at Gladbach, the Black and Reds are looking for their first goals against VfL Wolfsburg. And, of course, the first three points. The kick-off for the match at the home of the Werkself on Bismarckstraße is at 15.30 CET. Read on for stats and facts on the game against the Green and Whites...

get behind the lads for home opener 

A look at the record books is enough to make the Wolves cry ahead of the trip to Leverkusen: Previous visits for the team from Lower Saxony have not been too successful. Wolfsburg have only won one of 21 Bundesliga fixtures at Bayer 04 (in 2015; 5-4), otherwise the #B04WOB matches have ended in 14 defeats and six draws for the Green and Whites. In addition, the last time Bayer 04 lost in the first home game was eight years ago. Since then the Black and Reds clocked up six wins and a 2-2 draw against Hoffenheim last season. This year it’s time for another win.

welcome back Bruno

Ten years ago, the current Wolfsburg coach Bruno Labbadia was the head coach at Leverkusen for one season. That season the Werkself finished ninth in the Bundesliga and progressed to the DFB Cup final. Since then, the now 52-year old has proved to be charitable, above all, when his (new) teams meet Bayer 04. In the twelve Bundesliga fixtures where Bruno Labbadia visited Bayer 04 as a coach (with Hamburg SV, VfB Stuttgart and VfL Wolfsburg), he failed to come out on top with eight defeats and four draws making up a mediocre record for the former top striker. Against no other team that Labbadia has faced as coach at least twice in the league, is his return so poor. And it can happily continue that way. Sorry Bruno.

goals guarantee

Admittedly, the Bayer 04 goal machine has not been that effective recently. Overlapping the two seasons, Heiko Herrlich’s team has failed to find the back of the net in four of the last five Bundesliga games – the last time was the three goals scored against Hannover 96 on the final day of last season and the wait goes on for the first goal in 2018/19. However, it is reasonable to hope that the music to mark a goal will be heard again on Saturday at the BayArena: In the last 45 matches, Bayer 04 have only failed to score four times – the goals per game average for the Black and Reds is 1.8. Moreover, games between Bayer 04 and the Wolves have never ended goalless.

350 clean sheets?

Talking about failing to score. The Werkself are on the verge of a milestone against the team from Wolfsburg. This could be the 350th game where the Leverkusen lads have kept a clean sheet in the Bundesliga. That could well provide additional motivation for Rambo Özcan and his fellow defenders. While it is fair to assume the visitors will have something to say about that, it will be good from the Bayer 04 point of view to maintain the trend against the Green and Whites . Wolfsburg have only kept clean sheets in two of their last 16 away games (2/7/7). The weather forecast predicts no rain with temperatures around 20 degrees. 

Sven Jablonski the man in the middle

Sven Jablonski is in charge of proceedings on Saturday. The 28-year-old, born in Bremen, is one of the younger referees in the Bundesliga. The banker officiated his first game in Germany’s top flight last season in a total of eight games over the whole term. Sven Jablonski made his debut in the Bundesliga in September of last year. And that was at the BayArena in the Werkself home game against SC Freiburg. The Herrlich team not only secured a 4-0 victory but also there when no cards shown to the Bayer 04 players. Hopefully that’s how it can be on Saturday afternoon. The two assistants are Markus Häcker and Jan Neitzel-Petersen. Christian Dietz is the fourth official and the video referees are Dr. Robert Kampka and Sven Waschitzki.


There will probably be a birthday boy on the pitch on Saturday – Wolfsburg’s Paul Verhaegh is set to celebrate his 35th birthday. The stalwart would definitely be the oldest player on the pitch – a grey wolf. From appearances, that nickname also suits Rambo Özcan and he holds the philosopher’s stone at the Werkself. The birthday boy will also face former team-mate: Dominik Kohr played alongside Paul Verhaegh at FC Augsburg between January 2014 and the summer of 2017. In spite of all the congratulations one thing is certain: There will be no presents handed out on the pitch.

traffic problems expected

There will also be no gifts for motorists on Saturday. Due to various road works, there will be a number of motorway closures from Friday to Sunday – this particularly concerns the A1 from Cologne to Leverkusen as well as the relevant routes on the left side of the Rhine. There will also be severe disruption on the return journey via the Leverkusen Bridge in the direction of Cologne. Accordingly, we’d like to advise all fans planning to use the A1 from Cologne (or anyone wanting to make the return journey after the game in the direction of Cologne) to use alternative routes (A57/A46/A3 or A4/A3 via Heumar). The website of the North Rhine Westphalia roads service lists recommendations. As ever, Bayer 04 recommend using public transport. All tickets (with the exception of Print@Home tickets) entitle the holder to free travel in the Rhein-Ruhr (VRR)and Rhein-Sieg (VRS) regions on the day of the match.

#B04WOB on Facebook etc.

There are still tickets for the game available for anybody making a late decision. And for general information: As with every game, there is the official live text commentary on and on the move with smartphone apps. Anybody wanting to experience the stadium atmosphere with commentary that is available on Werkself Radio. Via the official social media channels of Bayer 04 – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – there is before, during and after the game full provision of information – starting with line-ups, photos and the most important live events during the game. The matchday hashtag is #B04WOB. And the target is: a home win! So in that sense, it’s ‘Come on the Werkself’!


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