It was a really tough struggle for much of the game on the pitch at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The overcast weather with plenty of rain before and during the match somehow suited a game where nobody really got going. Bayer 04 were the first to get the ball in the back of the net when Robert Andrich converted a cross from Amine Adli (26’) but the ball had gone out of play before the Frenchman put his cross in and the goal was therefore disallowed. Even more finicky was the situation surrounding the Hertha opener just before half-time through Jovetic (42') when it looked like the striker was just offside. However, a VAR check revealed that the heel of Piero Hincapie was a couple of inches closer to the Leverkusen net than the Hertha player was – a valid goal. The Werkself struggled to make the breakthrough for a long time in the second half until Andrich landed the blow to level from a Kerem Demirbay free kick. The match report is HERE.
Leverkusen can live with the hard-fought draw secured late on. "Hats off to the team for their commitment. Of course, the last-minute goal feels good. The way the game went, we are happy with the point,” said head coach Gerardo Seoane. The skipper Lukas Hradecky also recognised the positive of a point gained. "It's difficult to play good football on a pitch like that especially for a ball-oriented team like ours. Results haven't always gone so well recently so the 1-1 draw is really good for our morale," said the goalkeeper who was not really tested with the exception of a shot from Serdar (25').
Robert Andrich did not forget to mention the support from the stands: "Our supporters were almost louder than the Hertha fans. That says something." For the Potsdam-born player, who was a member of the youth and second team at Hertha Berlin for a long time and later played for Union Berlin, it was like a home game. The 27-year-old had support in the stands from his parents, his cousin and several friends who he had an animated discussion with after the final whistle.
It was a particularly memorable Sunday afternoon for both of them: Iker Bravo and Zidan Sertdemir made their first appearances in Germany's top flight in the capital. The Spanish attacking player came on for Paulinho on 79 minutes to become the youngest Bundesliga player in the history of Bayer 04 at the age of 16 years and 298 days taking over from Florian Wirtz (17 years and 15 days). Iker’s top spot in the record books did not last long. Sertdemir came on for Jeremie Frimpong on 86 minutes and the Dane was 22 days younger at the age of 16 and 276 days. There has only been one player younger than Sertdemir and Bravo in the whole history of the Bundesliga: Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko made his debut for BVB at the age of 16 years and 1 day.
Gerardo Seoane said about his two youngsters: "The debuts for Zidan and Iker are the reward for hard work. It takes a lot of work to make your way to the top. Not just for the players but also for the families. It’s compensation for that effort."
The negative run almost continued: Bayer 04 had not scored a single goal against Hertha in the last four Bundesliga encounters. That is the longest barren run for the Werkself against any Bundesliga club. Robert Andrich's lob over Schwolow just before the end of the game ensured this bad run came to an end.
The draw means Bayer 04 remain unbeaten this season away from home with three wins and three draws in the previous six matches on the road. In addition to the Werkself, only Bayern Munich have yet to lose away from home this term. Gerardo Seoane is the first Bayer 04 coach since Jupp Heynckes (2009/10) not to be beaten in his first six Bundesliga away fixtures.
"Andrich pierces Berlin to the heart," is the headline in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and it goes on to describe the poor state of the playing surface: "Even from a distance it was clear that the ball bobbled rather than ran over the surface." The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger looks at the situation of Bayer 04 dropping down from fourth to sixth place: "However, the teams are so bunched up that the target of qualifying for the Champions League this season is not yet at risk." The Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel chose this headline from a Hertha perspective: "Bad pitch, bad end." The pitch at the Olympic Stadium "was more reminiscent of the surface at a show jumping tournament (just before the end of the event)."
The Rheinische Post rates Robert Andrich "as the best Leverkusen player who was rewarded with the late goal." Andrich was the Man of the Match for kicker: "very much on the spot, symbolised Bayer's desire."
Now there is time to take a breather: The Bundesliga heads into the final international break of this year. Bayer 04 return to league action on Saturday, 20 November with a 15.30 CET kick-off at the BayArena against the capable newcomers VfL Bochum. That is followed five days later by the match in the Europa League against Celtic on Thursday, 25 November(kick-off: 18.45 CET). A win against the Scots would not only ensure the Werkself progress to the next round but also seal top spot in the group and a berth in the Round of 16 with a game to spare.
The Werkself beat Werder Bremen 3-0 on Bundesliga matchday 12 and again succeeded in holding on to top spot in the table as well as setting a new Bundesliga and club record. The facts, stats and reaction to the away win in Bremen is here in the Werkself review.Show more
The annual Black and Red Week is drawing to a close. And day 04, on Sunday 26 November, brings you an exclusive offer on Bayer 04 membership…Show more
The first of eight games across all competitions before the winter break has been won: The Werkself beat Werder Bremen 3-0 away on Bundesliga matchday 12. The goals scored were an own goal (9') and one each from Jeremie Frimpong (42') and Alejandro Grimaldo (76'). The away win ensures Bayer 04 stay top of the table.Show more
The final international break of 2023 is over and now Bayer 04 start a busy run of fixtures up to the winter break. The first of eight games across all competitions before Christmas is today’s away fixture at Werder Bremen (kick-off: 15.30 CET). The latest updates on the game at the Weserstadion.Show more