Call for passion and cool heads in derby

Bayer 04 are ready for the derby! Games against FC Köln are always special for Leverkusen And when press officer Dirk Mesch opened the media conference on Thursday something else was different from usual: Mesch was wearing – unmistakably – a red shirt. A sign of support for the fan campaign #finallyRED (click here for more information). "By standing shoulder-to-shoulder we want to achieve the big target of staying up," declared Mesch.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Head coach Tayfun Korkut said his Werkself had a "good week of training" with Julian Brandt, Ömer Toprak and Jonathan Tah set to return to full training. "The team have accepted the challenge. We are ready, and in positive mood, to put our plans into action in the derby," declared Korkut who was also happy at being able to welcome back Vladlen Yurchenko during the week. "The medical section has done great work and we're trying to get all returnees back into full training and do all we can to have as many players as possible available for selection."

With reference to the opponents FC Köln, Korkut said he had "exactly the same amount of respect as for all opponents in the Bundesliga." Korkut added: "FC are a very solid group who defend as one and are quick to play on the break. And then they also have Anthony Modeste who's enjoying a great year. It's a matter of controlling it all."

Korkut is very much looking forward to the derby. "Emotions are important and crucial for a derby. But it's also about keeping a clear head, to start the game in control and end it in the same way. The team knows what they've got to do. If we show our quality on the pitch then we'll get a result. It's a great challenge for us all. We feel a positive pressure to get on top of all these factors.

First part of final training session open to fans

Ahead of the 60th Bundesliga derby between Black and Reds and Red and Whites, Bayer 04 are mobilising all possible forces to secure top-flight status with a win against FC Köln. That's why Bayer 04 supporters have an opportunity to show their backing for the team at 15.30 CET on Friday. Tayfun Korkut and his fellow coaches have decided to make the first part of the final pre-match training session in the afternoon open to the public. After that the Bayer 04 pros will complete the second part of their session behind closed doors.

The #finallyRED campaign is calling for supporters to turn the home areas at the BayArena into a sea of deep red on Saturday to show the commitment of the Werkself faithful for the important game against FC Köln. On Saturday at 13.30 CET there will also be a ‘motivational guard of honour’ from the fan pub Stadioneck to the motorway bridge along Bismarckstraße to give the players a boost as they arrive at the stadium.

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