In a relaxed meeting with members of the media, he not only gave his impression of the first competitive match for his team in 2017 but also talked about the development of several key players, the current state of the injury list and how the Werkself have overcome the problem with penalties.
...on the injured players: "Lars Bender has done well in training over the past few days. Now we hope he's turned a corner and will soon be the key factor in our game once again. As things stand, Kevin Volland will be back for the game on Saturday - and hopefully that will apply to Stefan Kießling too. Both are in full training but Keith needs another couple of sessions to get back to the level he showed in the Mainz game. That's how we all want to see him! Charles Aránguiz was involved in a collision with Joel Pohjanpalo in training. And that normally hurts. We hope he'll be able to train again on Wednesday."
...on Aleksandar Dragovic: "He picked up a slight thigh injury against Hertha and he will miss Saturday's match. That's a great shame as Drago has been in great form recently. You have to remember that he only joined us later on in the summer. And we haven't had that many opportunities to train given the busy fixture calendar. So it took him time to get used to our game. At the winter training camp he did show he's a top player."
...on Chicharito: "He will score again. We’re all convinced of that. The first half of the season did not go to plan for him or the team. You could see that he was concerned about events off the pitch. Spending the festive period with his family in Mexico, followed by a holiday with friends, did him good. We saw a completely different Chicharito from the first day in Orlando. His work in every session at the training camp was sensational, he was focused and his body language was completely different. We saw that in Sunday's match against Hertha – even though he didn't manage to score."
...on Ömer Toprak: "We all believe Ömer will leave in the summer. There was an offer last summer but the move didn't happen. However, that did not affect him either on the pitch or in the dressing room. Other players might have thought about a move in the winter but that does not appear to be the case with Ömer. He's been here since 2011 and he wants to enjoy the final six months at Bayer 04 and that's how he's approaching games."
...on practising penalties: "Penalties aren't generally practised in the Bundesliga. But after the four missed spot kicks in the first half of the season, I didn't just want to say: 'There's nothing you can do about it.' It's actually a very simple task – to some extent comparable with the free shot at basketball or a field goal in American football. Our sports psychologist Christian Luthardt has looked at those sports and says the top players always take exactly the same approach to make sure they are focussed. Clear thinking is important and that's what we've made our players aware of in training. Hakan put that into practice on Sunday. He was decisive, focused and he put the ball away with confidence."
...on the next opponents: "We know Borussia and their players well. And we know how Dieter Hecking likes his teams to play. From that point of view, the change of coaches did not necessarily make the winter break harder - as Gladbach have already played one game under Hecking. It's clear that Borussia are a strong team with lots of individual quality but are clearly lacking some confidence. However, it's just a matter of time before Gladbach are back on form."
...on targets: "Our primary target is to beat Gladbach on Saturday. That match is the start of the second half of the season. And we want to show again what Bayer 04 stands for and produce the football that our fans expect from us and that everybody wants to see."
The Werkself are looking to seal winning the group against Häcken on matchday five in the UEFA Europa League. Ahead of the game against the Swedish Cup winners on Thursday 30 November (kick-off: 21.00 CET), head coach Xabi Alonso talked about clear aims as well as the busy fixture list up to the winter break – and he recalled a special trip to Gothenburg, tomorrow's venue, as a teenager. Nathan Tella also fielded questions from the journalists on Wednesday night where he spoke about the importance of the Europa League to the club and himself.Show more
Bayer 04 Leverkusen have given U17 player Francis Onyeka a long-term contact. The club has agreed a deal with the 16-year-old to 30 June 2027.Show more
#B04eSports team suffered the first defeat of the season on matchday five in the VBL Club Championship 2023/24. Last night’s other games ended in a win and a draw. The Black and Reds are now fifth in the North West division.Show more
Bayer 04 Leverkusen back continuity at the top of the club. The Bundesliga and Europa League participants have extended the contract with sporting managing director Simon Rolfes to 2028. The former midfielder and long-standing Werkself captain took over this position as the successor to Rudi Völler in the summer of 2022. He was previously the sporting director at Bayer 04 for three and a half years.Show more
The fans have decided: The goal scored by Florian Wirtz to make it 1-0 for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2-1 home win against SC Freiburg was voted Goal of the Month for October with 45 % of the votes cast. The 20-year-old Werkself player won the vote conducted by ARD-Sportschau by a clear margin ahead of second-placed Harry Kane (Bayern Munich).Show more