The hosts were the livelier team as the game progressed and they looked more dangerous up front. Bayer 04 keeper Lukas Hradecky had a number of chances to distinguish himself (1’/3’/27’). However, the Finnish keeper was beaten on 33 minutes: Vincenco Grifo converted a penalty with a Panenka to make it 1-0 after the ball struck Jeremie Frimpong on the arm. The Seoane team initially failed to provide a response. Leverkusen struck in added time at the end of the first 45: Charles Aránguiz headed in from an overhead assist from Jonathan Tah. In the second half, the Werkself were increasingly ambitious going forwards. However, there was a lack of penetration and Freiburg also defended very well. Just as both teams appeared to have settled for a point, the Sport Club scored again: Ermedin Demirovic crossed from the right wing for Kevin Schade to run in and turn the ball into the net to make it 2-1 (84'). HERE is the match report.
"We didn't start well but then upped our game in the second half. In the end it's obviously disappointing not to get a result here," was the assessment of the game by central defender Tah. It was "much too easy" for Freiburg to make it 2-1. "We can't always use the excuse that we're a young team," declared the 25-year-old before adding: "We just have to be more consistent and determined." And midfielder Robert Andrich also judged that the Werkself had a "bad first half." The Potsdam-born midfielder added: "We had big plans for the second half but ended up empty-handed again after losing 2-1."
Head coach Gerardo Seoane added: "We lost the plot after conceding at 2-1 and were unable to turn the game around." The second half was significantly better although the Black and Reds were unable to press home their advantage. "There were situations where crosses did not find any takers," explained the Swiss coach.
Aránguiz scored his first goal of the season on Sunday in the final match in the first half of the league campaign. The Chilean midfielder, who was sidelined for several weeks after a calf injury in the middle of October, made a total of 15 appearances up to the winter break. Provider Tah established a new personal best. It was the third assist from the defender in this Bundesliga season and that marks the highest number in a season to date for him.
At the post-match press conference, the members of the media took the end of the first half of the season as a chance to ask Gerardo Seoane to sum up his first six months in the Bundesliga. The 43-year-old responded: "We've recently struggled to take our chances and also had to overcome a number of personnel problems. But I'm basically pleased with the first half of the season and the team has taken a step forward in terms of development – although we could have had one or two more points.”
The Werkself end the first half of the Bundesliga campaign in fourth place. There have been eight wins, four draws and five defeats. With 40 goals scored, the Black and Reds currently have the third most prolific attack in the league – behind Bayern Munich (56 goals) and Borussia Dortmund (41). Gerardo Seoane has an average points per game of 1.76 after 25 matches as the Bayer 04 coach. Patrik Schick (16 goals) is the second highest goalscorer behind Robert Lewandowski (19). Florian Wirtz has provided the second highest number of assists (8) in Germany's top flight – with only Thomas Müller (13) being more successful. In terms of shots saved, Lukas Hradecky is top of the rankings – the Finland international is in top spot with 72 saves ahead of SC Freiburg keeper Mark Flekken (67) and VfL Bochum's Manuel Riemann (66).
Kicker states that Freiburg had more ambition and comes to the conclusion that it was a "deserved home win" for the team from the Breisgau. The teams then "neutralised" each other in the second half. In addition, the football journal assesses Tah's self-criticism ("We have to have more of a winning mentality") after the final whistle as a positive insight. The Rheinische Post takes up the analysis of Andrich ("We're conceding far too many goals") and identifies "naive" defending by the Seoane team. The Werkself players with the best marks in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger are Tah, Aránguiz and Frimpong (each with a 3). BILD judges that SC Freiburg are "the team of the first half of the season." And that Leverkusen have "spoiled Christmas" with the defeat.
The match in the Breisgau was the last game of the year for the Werkself. There is now a short winter break before the start of the second half of the season on Saturday, 8 January (kick-off: 15.30 CET) with the Bundesliga home game against Union Berlin. The first away fixture for the Black and Reds in the New Year is at Borussia Mönchengladbach (15 January, kick-off: 18.30 CET). "The time off is important to recover physical and mental freshness ahead of the second half of the season," said Tah in an interview on DAZN.
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