“Bochum fought hard and we created too little in attack. But maybe this point will be important,” said captain Lukas Hradecky. Robert Andrich was of a similar opinion: “We weren’t purposeful enough in the dangerous areas. It wasn’t enough going forward this time. But we’ll take the point.”
Head coach Gerardo Seoane made three changes to his starting XI from the 2-1 win at home to Hertha Berlin. Mitchel Bakker, Bellarabi and Lucas Alario all dropped to the bench and were replaced by Piero Hincapie, Kerem Demirbay and Patrik Schick. As well as long-term absentees Florian Wirtz, Jeremie Frimpong, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Amine Adli, Leverkusen were also without Sardar Azmoun due to a cold.
Seoane had demanded before the game that his team “accept the pace that Bochum will set with their quick wide players”. The hosts tried to put the Werkself under pressure from the start, but it was Bayer 04 who got the first chance when Paulinho squared for Schick in the box. However, the Czech striker couldn’t get a telling shot away, which popped up easily for Manuel Riemann in goal. Up the other end, it took a couple of Leverkusen defenders to cut out an Anthony Losilla square ball. Bochum got stuck in as expected, immediately putting the Werkself under pressure on the ball.
After Paulinho teed up Schick for the first chance, they reversed roles for the next as the Brazilian was picked out in the box, but his touch allowed Armel Bella Kotchap to throw himself in the way of the shot. Both teams neutralised each other in this period, with a Schick header from a Charles Aranguiz cross landing on the roof of the net. Shortly after, Tah hurt himself in a challenge with Sebastian Polter and had to go off before the half-hour mark. Bakker replaced him, going to left-back and moving Hincapie alongside Edmond Tapsoba in central defence.
The next effort came from Demirbay, but his shot proved no problem for Riemann. As intense as the play was in the first half, there were very few genuine chances until shortly before the break when Bochum left-back Danilo Soares struck the crossbar with a deflected effort from 20 yards. Hradecky then comfortably held a Polter header from close range on the stroke of half-time.
Bochum resumed on the front foot as well, with Takuma Asano firing an effort over just after the restart. Bayer 04 had to turn more and more to set pieces in this tactical game, but an attempt from Odilon Kossounou from Demirbay’s corner struck more shoulder than head. The big moment came on 65 minutes when Paulinho was taken down inside the box and referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot. Diaby stepped up to take but slipped at the crucial moment and the ball went in after coming off his standing leg. The goal was therefore ruled out with no possibility to re-take. Bellarabi then came on for Paulinho.
Bochum would have two more half chances through Polter and Eduard Löwen before Seoane made a triple change with Alario, Exequiel Palacios and Daley Sinkgraven replacing Schick, Demirbay and the injured Bellarabi. The Ruhrstadion rose to its collective feet to welcome back Simon Zoller after over seven months out with a cruciate ligament tear. Alario then fired over the following minute.
Bochum kept pushing and made life tough for the Werkself. A Danny Blum header was an easy hold for Hradecky, while Soares did well to pinch the ball off the toes of Diaby inside his own penalty area before the referee brought the end to proceedings without a goal.
Bayer 04 return to action next Sunday, 17 April when they host RB Leipzig on Matchday 30. Kick-off at the BayArena is at 19:30 CEST.
Bochum: Riemann – Gamboa, Bella Kotchap, Leitsch, Soares – Losilla, Rexhbecaj (Löwen 63'), Stafylidis – Pantovic (Holtmann 63'), Polter (Zoller 81'), Asano (Blum 81')
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Kossounou, Tah (Bakker 30'), Tapsoba, Hincapie – Andrich, Aranguiz – Diaby, Demirbay (Palacios 77'), Paulinho (Bellarabi 66'/Sinkgraven 77') – Schick (Alario 77')
Referee: Felix Zwayer
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