"We were too far apart, didn't challenge and were always two steps behind. We didn't turn up today," said Kevin Volland after the final whistle. "We just didn't perform at all today. Now we all need to pull together for the run-in." And Sven Bender was equally peeved: "We weren't prepared to give our all. Then you deserve to get beaten like that."
Sporting director Rudi Völler declared: "That was a hiding that hurts and we'll have to go through it all over the next few days. We were far too soft and naive in challenges."
Bayer 04 head coach Heiko Herrlich had to manage without goalkeeper Bernd Leno for the first time this season. The Werkself number one was not in the squad due to a slight knee injury from the Leipzig game. He was replaced in goal by Rambo Özcan making his Bundesliga debut for Bayer 04. In addition, Herrlich made four other changes from the line-up for the DFB Cup tie against Bayern Munich. Benny Henrichs came in for the suspended Lars Bender at the right side of a back four. Julian Baumgartlinger made way for Dominik Kohr in the holding midfield role. Leon Bailey and Lucas Alario started in place of Kai Havertz and Karim Bellarabi .
The top game on matchday 31 between fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund Bayer 04 in third at the Signal Iduna Park was watched by Germany coach Joachim Löw. Kevin Volland was captain today in balmy weather with summer temperatures around 26 degrees. Both teams started brightly with the Werkself having the first good move with a quick break involving Brandt and Alario in the direction of the Dortmund goal. The shot from the Argentinian on eight minutes went past the right-hand post. The hosts hit straight back a minute later with their first chance falling to Mario Götze but his effort deflected off Kohr for a corner.
The action moved to the Werkself penalty area when Sancho was in a one-on-one with Özcan but the Bayer 04 keeper pulled off a great save on 11 minutes. Just two minutes later, Özcan was left stranded: Sancho was suddenly unmarked again because Henrichs slipped as he tried to intercept a pass from Christian Pulisic. This time the 18-year-old Dortmund player was clinical as he slotted the ball into the net to make it 1-0 on 13 minutes.
The Black and Yellows pressed hard and Henrichs blocked a shot from Pulisic on 15 minutes with a last-ditch intervention with his foot. After 25 minutes, the Werkself weathered the first period of pressure from Dortmund.
The Leverkusen penalty area was again the focal point of proceedings on 35 minutes. Reus hammered the ball into the back of the net from a Philipp pass but the goal was rightly ruled out. Referee Markus Schmidt decided Philipp was offside after consulting the VAR. Reus had the chance to double the lead again 120 seconds later. Panos Retsos fouled Pulisic and the man in the middle pointed to the penalty spot. Özcan brilliantly saved the spot-kick to prevent Bayer 04 going further behind. Jonathan Tah then went off injured and was replaced by Tin Jedvaj who moved to the right side of the defence. Henrichs went to left back and Retsos joined Sven Bender in central defence. The Werkself found it extremely tough in the first 45 minutes against a very aggressive Dortmund side who could have been even further ahead.
Herrlich brought on Kai Havertz in place of Leon Bailey for the start of the second half. The Werkself had to up their game. And Bayer 04 looked more effective. However, it was Dortmund who had the first clear chances. Sancho dribbled through the Werkself rearguard to put Götze in but his shot on 51 minutes was blocked by Retsos. Reus then curled a shot against the bar a minute later. But the Werkself did have shots from Kohr (53') and Havertz (54') whose effort went just over the bar.
The next goal was scored by the Black and Yellows. Götze put Reus through on the left, rounded Özcan and tucked the ball into net from a tight angle to put the hosts 2-0 up on 55 minutes. A goal that clearly had an effect. Bayer 04 tried hard but were unable to break through up front. Unlike BVB, with a fast breakaway involving Manuel Akanji and Sancho ending with Philipp scoring the third goal for Dortmund just after the hour mark. That settled the result.
Bayer 04 did have another clear chance through Havertz but his volley was saved by the BVB keeper Roman Bürki on 74 minutes. Nothing went right for the Werkself today. In contrast, Dortmund were well in control. Reus netted his second goal from a Sancho cross on 78 minutes and BVB were 4-0 up.
It was a disappointing night for the Werkself. There was an emotional moment for Sven Bender: The former Dortmund player drew a great reception from the BVB fans in the South Stand.
The Werkself are back in action next Saturday with a home game against VfB Stuttgart. The match at the BayArena on 28 April kicks off at 18.30 CET.
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Akanji - Weigl - Pulisic (Dahoud 71'), Reus (Gomez 86'), Götze, Sancho - Philipp (Toljan 81')
Bayer 04: Özcan – Henrichs, Tah (Jedvaj 43'), S. Bender, Retsos – Kohr, Aránguiz – Brandt, Volland, Bailey (Havertz 46')- Alario (Bellarabi 69')
Goals: 1-0 Sancho (13'), 2-0 Reus (55'), 3-0 Philipp (63'), 4-0 Reus (78')
Referee: Markus Schmidt (Stuttgart)
Special moment: Özcan saves Reus penalty (37')
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more