Bayer 04 are pulling together. That was the message from head coach Tayfun Korkut at the pre-match press conference ahead of the Bundesliga away game at FC Ingolstadt (Saturday, 15.30 CET). In order for the Werkself to have the chance of securing top-flight status as soon as possible, the players, staff and fans have adopted special measures. The Werkself are travelling to Munich a day earlier than planned and around 1,000 fans and members of staff, including CEO Michael Schade, will head south on Saturday morning in a fleet of coaches.
"We're really happy about this solidarity," declared Tayfun Korkut at the press conference, broadcast live as ever on Facebook and bayer04.de. "It shows we’re all pulling together. It's important for us to make a statement in the current situation." In contrast to original plans, the Werkself are heading to Munich a day earlier on Thursday afternoon to give them the opportunity to "prepare as a group". Korkut would like this time ahead of the match to "exchange views and make the best possible preparations for the match." The intention for the Werkself is to be absolutely united in this crucial phase of the season.
Supporters and staff on the move
Numerous Bayer 04 members of staff are showing their solidarity by setting off in coaches from Leverkusen early on Saturday morning. CEO Michael Schade and fan liaison officer and Bundesliga legend Rüdiger Vollborn will be joined by many supporters and fans on the early journey to demonstrate their full backing for the Black and Reds.
Tayfun Korkut made it clear more than just combative methods will be required against Ingolstadt on Saturday: "It's absolutely clear we have to accept the challenge, stand up and fight back. We are very well prepared for their style of play. Beyond that, the team will have to show their full footballing potential and demonstrate their quality on the pitch." On the subject of pressure, Korkut had much to say based on his own experience: "I've experienced situations like this many times as a player and as a coach. And the team is also used to pressure. It's true they don't have much experience of battling to stay up but they have mastered play-offs and great pressure at the end of seasons. The team definitely knows how to handle it."
Brandt and Yurchenko sidelined
Julian Brandt is definitely ruled out for the match at Ingolstadt. Korkut: "Julian picked up a knock in the game against Schalke. He had to miss training during the week. He’s staying at home to avoid it getting worse this weekend." Vladlen Yurchenko also misses the trip to Bavaria due to injury.
There is better news for central defenders Jonathan Tah and Ömer Toprak. Korkut: “Ömer Toprak’s foot injury is very painful. He can walk but turning his ankle and contact with the ball is really painful. Jonathan Tah has a muscle problem but he's over the worst." Both Toprak and Tah will travel to Ingolstadt. Korkut: "We'll see whether we manage to get one or both of them fit for Saturday."
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