'Focused and wide-awake' against Mainz

"Football is not decided by style points," said head coach Heiko Herrlich at the start of Friday afternoons pre-match press conference ahead of the away game at Mainz: Following two impressive performances by his team in the opening two matches of the season, which only produced one point, the Werkself will be looking to register the first win of the campaign at the Opel Arena on Saturday (15.30 CET).

The head coach is expecting a physical game against a tough opponent with Mainz 05 without a point or a goal to date. "Mainz will definitely want to win at home for the first time and will try everything. I expect they will be very aggressive and passionate." The disappointing start to the season with two defeats against newly promoted Hanover and Stuttgart make Mainz 05 dangerous. "I know our team like Mainz, who haven't really got going yet, can approach a game like this and what is then possible," warned Herrlich and added in respect of his own team: "It's important my team knows how to handle it and they go into the game focused and wide-awake."

Baumgartlinger and Retsos miss Mainz match

 The maxim of Bayer 04 ahead of the second away game of the season is to take the opposition on and pick up the points. Or, as the Werkself coach put it: "It has to be a top performance with the appropriate result." In achieving this target Herrlich can rely on the support of some 1,250 Bayer 04 supporters who will follow the team to Mainz. Joel Pohjanpalo has recovered from his muscle injury quicker than expected and is another option for the Werkself attack. Captain Lars Bender may also be in for a return. "We're happy he's stayed fit and healthy and has been able to complete all the training sessions. If we take him with us to Mainz then we'll all be happy," said Heiko Herrlich of his midfielder who last lined up for the Werkself in March.

The final decision about the availability of Pohjanpalo and Bender will, as usual, be made after the final pre-match training session on Friday afternoon. Definitely ruled out is Julian Baumgartlinger who is sidelined with an infection that prevents him facing his former team-mates at Mainz. And new signing Panos Retsos, in Leverkusen since Tuesday, is unavailable due to a knee injury picked up playing for Greece. He is expected to return to full training at the start of next week. Herrlich is still without long-term injury Tin Jedvaj as well as striker Lukas Alario. The fact his previous club River Plate have refused to release the players licence does not worry the Bayer 04 coach. "I'm sure they'll be a solution soon," said Herrlich who chose to look forward: "At the moment I'm only concerned with the next game. We definitely want to win against Mainz."


Related News

Bayer 04 - 17.04.2024

Eight Werkself stars nominated for Team of the Season

The German Football League (DFL) has launched the vote for the Bundesliga Team of the Season. As of now, fans of the Werkself can select no fewer than eight Bayer 04 players in the top XI of the 2023/24 campaign: on the shortlist are Lukas Hradecky, Jonathan Tah, Jeremie Frimpong, Alejandro Grimaldo, Granit Xhaka, Exequiel Palacios, Florian Wirtz and Victor Boniface. Voting closes on Monday 22 April at 9:00 CEST.

Show more
Frauen - 17.04.2024

Bayer 04 Women out to top last season’s tally in trip to Leipzig

Bayer 04 Women have the chance to surpass their points total from last season with three games remaining in the Google Pixel Bundesliga as they visit RB Leipzig for Matchday 19 on Friday (kick-off: 6.30pm CEST). Victory against the promoted side would take Robert de Pauw’s team onto 31 points, one more than they managed in their 22 fixtures in 2022/23.

Show more
Bundesliga - 15.04.2024

“A dream come true”: Reaction to being Bundesliga champions

After Bayer Leverkusen won their first-ever Bundesliga title to much acclaim, people from the world of sports, business and politics gave their comments on the historic moment.

Show more
Bundesliga - 15.04.2024

Werkself review #B04SVW: A happy end to the fairy tale

14 April 2024 will go down in history at Bayer Leverkusen. We’ll try to reconstruct it all for you. Not only are the Werkself the first new champions of Germany since Wolfsburg in 2009, but only twice before in Bundesliga history has such the title been won earlier than Matchday 29. It ended Bayern Munich’s 11-year reign as champions. And Leverkusen are still undefeated in their 43 competitive matches this season, equalling the all-time record of a team in the five major European leagues. We round it all up in our Werkself review…

Show more
Bundesliga - 15.04.2024

“Really remarkable”: The media reaction to Bayer 04’s Bundesliga triumph

Media from around the world have honoured the Werkself's season after they secured their first Bundesliga title with a 5-0 win at home to Werder Bremen. We round up the praise showered on Xabi Alonso's team…

Show more