#BMGB04 review: Penalty madness and flashes of inspiration

After five games without a win, the Werkself celebrated a 2-1 win away to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. An oddity: Bayer 04 missed two penalties in the game. Nevertheless, Jonathan Tah "always thought we'd win it." The Werkself review of #BMGB04.

Summary: Three points despite Sommer's penalty saves

The Werkself invested a lot of effort in the first 45 minutes but found it difficult to pose a real threat on the goal of Borussia keeper Yann Sommer. The Black and Reds initially only created a couple of half chances with the Foals very compact in defence. The game took off in the second half: Bayer 04 missed two penalties taken by Patrik Schick (50’) and Kerem Demirbay (87’) awarded for fouls by Gladbach in their own penalty area. A corner from Florian Wirtz – just 29 seconds after Schick's miss from the spot – ended up with Robert Andrich just having to stick his foot out in the six-yard box (51'). Schick then extended the lead with a header from a Demirbay free kick (74'). Nico Elvedi pulled a goal back for the hosts late on (81') but the Werkself secured the victory that takes them up to third in the Bundesliga table.


Reaction: "Everybody was hungry for the win"

"Everybody gave their all to pick up the three points," praised defender Jonathan Tah after the game. "We gave 100% and produced a good performance in defence. It got exciting again later on with the consolation goal but we did very well overall." After five games without a win (two draws, three defeats) mentality definitely played a role after the goal making it 2-1, "in the end we did well to bring it home and we deserved to win," said Robert Andrich. Tah noticed "in the dressing room that everybody invested a lot of energy.” Therefore, the 25-year-old also "always felt we'd win it. Everybody was hungry for the victory." Having seen that ambition was "very important" for Tah. "That's exactly how we want to play in the next game."

Head coach Gerardo Seoane rated the performance of his team as follows: "We were dynamic and quick going forward but we just lacked precision in our finishing." After the consolation goal, the Werkself impressed with passionate defending. "The team," explained the Swiss coach, "threw themselves into every challenge. I felt good about our defence throughout the game but the last ten minutes are always special. There was a certain tension particularly after the last few weeks."

Personnel: Fosu-Mensah returns – Adli meets old mate

After the 2-2 draw against Union Berlin, Timothy Fosu-Mensah returned to the squad against Borussia Mönchengladbach and had time on the pitch. The 24-year-old Dutchman came on for Jeremie Frimpong on 56 minutes for his first appearance the Werkself in the 2021/22 season. Great to see you back on the pitch, Timothy. In addition, there was a special reunion on Saturday for Bayer 04 striker Amine Adli and Gladbach midfielder Manu Koné. Both started with the youth teams at FC Toulouse who they left last summer for the Bundesliga. During their time in France, the two players developed a close friendship that has lasted to this day. It was the first time they faced each other on the pitch – with Adli coming out on top.


Stats: Closest rival for Robert Lewandowski

Patrik Schick on target again: The Czech Republic striker scored his eighteenth goal of the season against the Foals in his sixteenth match for the Black and Reds – an outstanding return. No other player in the history of Bayer 04 has achieved that before. The 6 foot 2 forward is now second in the goalscorers list behind FC Bayern's Robert Lewandowski (23 goals). In Schick’s eyes, the Poland international is the best striker in the world at the moment. "It makes me very happy to be Robert's closest rival,” declared the 25-year-old in an interview with the Dreister- und Weserzeitung and he also praised teammate Florian Wirtz who has set up six of his 18 goals this season: "For a striker like me," explained Schick, "it's a gift to know that there is someone behind me who is almost guaranteed to create goalscoring opportunities with the way he plays and his assists. I've never seen a young teammate with such class before."

What the papers say: Wirtz impresses with "flashes of inspiration up front"

"Penalty, corner madness at BORUSSIA PARK" is the headline in the EXPRESS above the report pointing to the fact that Bayer 04 are in a Champions League spot thanks to the three points. The Kicker analysis reads that Leverkusen "had significantly more worries than necessary at the end of the game." On balance, the win against the Foals was "fully deserved above all due to the second half." The Rheinische Post highlights the performances of several Werkself players: "Robert Andrich," reports the journal "impressed with uncompromising tackles and again showed he has a nose for a situation with his goal to make it 1-0. Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky made two impressive saves, defender Jonathan Tah was also in good shape. Once again you have to mention Florian Wirtz who not only shone with his flashes of inspiration up front and strong running but also with his corner that led to the opening goal."

Outlook: First Augsburg, then international break

For the Werkself, who are now third in the Bundesliga after 19 games with a tally of 32 points, the next match is on Saturday 22 January (kick-off: 15.30 CET). Tah and Co. entertain FC Augsburg. The Bavarian Swabians have 18 points to date and are at home to Eintracht Frankfurt today (Sunday). The home game against FCA is followed by the first international break of the year. Bayer 04 will then play second-placed Borussia Dortmund on 6 February.

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