'We'll field a good side'

It's 104 days since the Werkself played game number 1,330 in the Bundesliga against Hannover 96 on the final matchday of last season. Three and a half months later, Bayer 04 are about to start their 40th season in Germany's top flight: In the opening match of the new campaign, Heiko Herrlich's team are away to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday night (25 August, 18.30 CET). There is huge anticipation in Leverkusen ahead of the league season kicking off tomorrow.

"After the Hannover game, there was huge disappointment amongst the team at missing out on the target of a Champions League spot," said Herrlich at the pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon ahead of the Gladbach game. Following that low, his players were all highly motivated – particularly when he started the pre-season on 5 July. "The motivation was brilliant from the start. And although there wasn't always that much to shout about in the friendlies, I can sense a real hunger, a great desire amongst the group – everybody's looking forward to  getting going again," said the  46-year-old coach who also stressed there are different levels of expectation after very impressive performances at times last term. It is even more important to get off to a good start in tomorrow's encounter with Gladbach at Borussia Park. "Borussia Mönchengladbach are a very ambitious side – you can hear and read that everywhere. They've really strengthened and improved their squad. Nevertheless, we want to go there and, if possible, take all three points like we did last season," said the Werkself head coach confidently laying down the line.

Herrlich rules out Bender twins

The man from Mannheim is opting to overlook the fact the Bayer 04 medics and physios have their hands full at the moment. In addition to Julian Baumgartlinger (knee), Lukas Hradecky (rehab), Joel Pohjanpalo (ankle), Panos Retsos (thigh),  this week saw keeper Thorsten Kirschbaum (thigh) plus Lars and Sven Bender (knee and ankle respectively) join the injury list – they are all unavailable for the opening fixture for the Werkself. "Lars and Sven Bender can't wait, both definitely want to play. Above all, with Lars it's the case he absolutely wants to get back on the pitch and tolerate the pain. But after discussions with the medical section, the risk is too great and we want to avoid them being sidelined for any longer than is necessary," said Herrlich in ruling out the captain and his twin brother: "I just want to have fit players on the pitch tomorrow." At the same time, he expressed his complete confidence in his other players. "I've always said we need 20 first team players to be strong enough given the crowded fixture list and to be able to produce the performances needed to be successful in all the competitions," said Herrlich and he promised: "We will field a very good team tomorrow."

high hopes for Charles Aránguiz

It is certainly possible Charles Aránguiz will be in the squad. The 29-year-old Chilean has recently missed out due to knee and Achilles problems. That now appears to over. "Charly is still being treated and looked after by the medics but he has made very quick progress, trained very well this week and coped well with the workload. After today's final training session, we'll decide if we can take him with us," said Herrlich raising high hopes of the midfield maestro returning to action.

Around 3,000 fans will be in the away end at Borussia Park tomorrow night supporting the Werkself. There are some tickets available on the night.


Related News

Business - 04.12.2023

A lifestyle partner for Bayer 04: Monster Energy in Sponsors Club

Monster Energy has been a partner in the Sponsors Club at Bayer 04 Leverkusen since the start of the 2023/24 season. Monster Energy has shown their products at Werkself home games on the LED advertising hoardings at the BayArena. Monster Energy activated the next stage of the partnership with the current Bundesliga league leaders for Bayer 04’s home game against Union Berlin in the middle of November. Monster Energy will continue to present themselves as a reliable and ambitious partner to Leverkusen fans through similar promotional events as at the game against Union Berlin.

Show more
Soziales - 04.12.2023

Bayer 04 donate 140 blankets to homeless charity

Bayer 04 involvement with the ‘Kältegang Leverkusen’ project continues this winter. The current Bundesliga league leaders and their fans again presented financial and in-kind donations to the homeless charity at home game against Borussia Dortmund (1-1).

Show more
Bundesliga - 04.12.2023

The Werkself review #B04BVB: Hard work, deserved reward

The Werkself remain unbeaten after the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 13. The one-sided game demanded a lot of strength of nerve and competitive spirit from Xabi Alonso's team. In the end, Victor Boniface rewarded the relentless attacking efforts of the league leaders against passive but efficient visitors. The Werkself review.

Show more
Bundesliga - 03.12.2023

Werkself remain unbeaten after 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund

Bayer 04 were held to a 1-1 draw by Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga. Julian Ryerson had put the visitors in front at a sold-out BayArena after only five minutes. Leverkusen would go on to dominate proceedings and finally get their deserved equaliser through Victor Boniface in the 79th minute. It’s a result that extends the Werkself’s unbeaten run in all competitions this season to 20 matches.

Show more
Soziales - 03.12.2023

2023 Bayer 04 Volunteers Award goes to Roleber, Oberpleis and Glehn

For the 17th time, Bayer 04 Sportförderung gGmbH has awarded the Volunteers Award for outstanding commitment to football in Leverkusen and the surrounding region. The three outstanding clubs in 2023 are BSV Roleber 1919, TuS 05 Oberpleis and SV 1924 Glehn. They will each receive prize money of €5,000.

Show more