The match at Sportpark Ronhof started with a setback for Bayer 04 after five minutes: Jetro Willems exploited a mistake by the Leverkusen defence to give Fürth an early lead. But the Werkself soon hit back: Patrik Schick with a skilful back-heel (9’) and Sardar Azmoun with his first Bundesliga goal after a bad mistake by keeper Andreas Linde (18') turned the game around. Bayer 04 took the control of proceedings in the second half against bravely battling hosts and were able to extend the lead with goals from Paulinho, with a brilliant assist from Azmoun (58'), and Exequiel Palacios (84'). HERE is the match report.
"Fortunately, we quickly dealt with going behind early on. It was not a top performance in terms of our play. But the result was right and the win gives us confidence. That's very important in this crucial phase of the season," said Gerardo Seoane. At the post-match press conference, the coach also showed sympathy with the Cloverleaves whose relegation from the Bundesliga is now certain: "Fürth have tried to play attractive football all season. It's impressive how the supporters got behind the club in spite of being relegated." Bayer 04 captain Lukas Hradecky summed up the 90 minutes at the Sportpark Ronhof as follows: "The attitude was right, the energy was right but there's room for improvement in our game."
Sardar Azmoun has had to wait a few games for this first. He was happy with his goal to make it 2-1 and the wonderful assist for Paulinho's strike at 3-1. "I'm very happy about my goal but the team winning is the most important thing. We want to be in the Champions League," said the Iran international who also received praise from Lukas Hradecky: "He just has a feeling for space and the danger zone. That's not easy to learn." Exequiel Palacios also scored his first goal for Bayer 04 in his 32nd Bundesliga appearance and the Argentinian gave his shirt to a fan at the end of the game. In addition, there were two notable comebacks. Patrik Schick, who missed four games due to a muscle injury and went three games without a goal, scored for the first time since the 3-2 defeat at Mainz on 18 February. It was goal number 21 of the season in 24 outings for the Czech Republic international. Also very pleasing: Julian Baumgartlinger had his first minutes in the Bundesliga since August 2021 after a knee operation put him out of action for many months. Great to see you back on the pitch, Baumi!
Bayer 04 had an ace up their sleeve in Fürth: The Werkself were incredibly effective in finishing compared with the hosts. But the stats after the game showed that Fürth almost competed on equal terms. Shots on goal (8 for Fürth, 9 for the Werkself) were close and SpVgg also had a slight edge in other categories: 52-48 percent possession, 56-44 percent in challenges and pass completion rate of 83 to 81 percent.
"Leverkusen move up to third," reports the Bild am Sonntag. The online edition of the Rheinische Post awards top marks to Sardar Azmoun in their individual assessments: "The Iranian showed the right instincts for his first Bundesliga goal to make it 2-1 and he provided the assist for Paulinho at 3-1. And he had a lot of other good moves as a 'stand-in number 10'." The online edition of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger draws the following conclusion: "Bayer 04 take a big step forward towards the Champions League and the lead over the feared fifth place has grown to three points."
The Werkself have three more hurdles in the Bundesliga this term. The next on matchday 32 is against Eintracht Frankfurt at the BayArena with the game kicking off on Monday 2 May at 20.30 CEST. Eintracht are away to West Ham United on the Thursday before in the semi-finals of the Europa League. The Werkself end the season with matches away to TSG Hoffenheim (7 May) and at home to SC Freiburg (14 May).
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