'We have to make sure everybody helps defend'

Thanks to a 5-1 victory against AEK Larnaca in Cyprus on Thursday, the Werkself have won their group in the Europa League. There is not much time to rest as in two days (Sunday 16 December, 18.00 CET) Bayer 04 face the next challenge with an away game at Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. On Friday afternoon, immediately after returning to Leverkusen, Heiko Herrlich faced the representatives of the media.

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The Werkself coach talked about...

...the personnel situation: "Everybody returned from Larnaca fit and well and nobody is complaining about serious injury. With the players left behind with slight knocks, we will probably have Jonathan Tah and Karim Bellarabi available again. There is still a big question mark over Sven Bender – we will  probably make a decision about his availability for Sunday tomorrow."

...targets: „"We have the chance with a victory – which is obviously our aim – to get within two points of Eintracht Frankfurt. Then we would be where we want to be – or at least heading in the right direction. I have the feeling the team has finally found their way out of a difficult phase and are ready to take the next step."

..the opposition: "The table never lies and Frankfurt have had a great season so far. After a difficult start, Adi Hütter (Eintracht Frankfurt coach, ed.) has done an incredible job.  They play unbelievably intensive and all-out football, similar to the way Jürgen Klopp's way of playing football. In the statistics on intensive runs per game and in the ground covered  they are amongst the top teams. They've had a very good first half of the season – it feels like the best in the last ten years."

...Eintracht's front three: "It's impressive the way Luka Jovic, Sébastien Haller and Ante Rebic have played this season. It will be incredibly important to get a grip of them on Sunday. The same actually applies to Makoto Hasebe, their driving force in midfield, who we will also have to take out of the game  – but according to press reports he is unlikely to play (due to a muscle injury Suffered in the Europa League game against Lazio on Thursday, ed.)."

...the Werkself attitude: "We were able to beat Frankfurt twice last season. In both games, we showed the mentality needed to win games like that. In the away game at Frankfurt, I remember the opening goal well  when Julian Brandt won the ball in his own penalty area, we quickly played up field down the left flank  and Kevin Volland was in the middle to score the goal. That ability to accept defensive responsibility – as Jule brilliantly showed – will definitely be needed on Sunday."

…the approach : "We have to be wide-awake, be very compact and really try never to let the Frankfurt attack us in a one-on-one so that they can't dribble facing our goal. We have to make sure that everybody really helps defend."


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