Schmidt: 'Give Bayern a game'

Saturday night, 18.30 CET. Floodlights. Top match. A busy run of fixtures for the Werkself ends on Bundesliga matchday 12 with the away game against second-in-the-table FC Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. At the pre-match press conference, the Werkself coach Roger Schmidt talked about a “huge challenge against a team with much more experience than other team in the league and perhaps in Europe in being able to produce top performances at any time.”
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Buoyed by the success of reaching the last sixteen of the Champions League in Moscow on Tuesday night with a game to play, the Werkself will be up for the challenge in Munich as Roger Schmidt declared.

"Promise to Karim "

The head coach revealed a very special motivation for his young team to the members of the media on Friday afternoon: “We have a very good reason to be in the Champions League at the start of 2017. The reason is Karim Bellarabi. Last season, he played a big part in us qualifying for the Champions League so we were determined to see Karim play in the competition. He’s well on the road to recovery but he won’t play again this year. So we’re really happy we could keep that promise.”

The personnel position at the Werkself has hardly changed since the CSKA Moscow game. “It will probably be the same squad as on Tuesday,” said Schmidt. That means the game has come too early for Vladlen Yurchenko, Joel Pohjanpalo is unavailable and Lars Bender will also join Karim Bellarabi on the sidelines. “Lars still has a problem with his heel. It hasn’t improved much and he’ll need time, probably two or three weeks. We hope he’ll be back as soon as possible.” According to Schmidt, Stefan Kießling has not “trained for ten days and I need to speak to him.”

"FC Bayern are in good shape"

The fact the opponents in the top match have lost their last two games will not lead Roger Schmidt “to take anything for granted. Bayern were the better team against Dortmund for much of the match. The team have had a couple of results that are below par. Despite that, they will be in good shape and probably be able to field their best side against us. They have much more experience than other team in the league or in Europe and are capable of producing a top performance whenever the situation demands it.”

However, Schmidt wants the Werkself to “be brave” in Munich: “We’ve had a couple of good games against Bayern - particularly at home. Now we want to do the same in Munich. We’re capable of giving any team in Europe a game and that’s we’ll set out to do on Saturday night.”




© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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