"I'm over the moon," said Heiko Herrlich, "the team performance was very good. We dominated the first half and took control after the equaliser“ The Bayer 04 head coach commented on the irritation surrounding the ruling out of the third Werkself goal netted by Kevin Volland: "It took a long time before the goal making it 3-1 was chalked off."
Sven Bender and Kevin Volland returned from injury in time to play in the 61st Bundesliga derby against the rivals from Cologne but the Werkself skipper Lars Bender did not make the squad. Charles Aránguiz and Julian Baumgartlinger played in defensive midfield, Panos Retsos again played at right-back with Lucas Alario starting on the bench, Kai Havertz played behind and alongside Volland in an advanced midfield role with Leon Bailey on the right and Julian Brandt on the left flanks.
The Bayer 04 fans in the North Stand helped to boost the atmosphere ahead of kick-off with an impressive choreography in red, black and white. And the action on the pitch was equally exciting with the Werkself winning the first corner on 36 seconds. The determined hosts were camped in the FC Köln half and they started at a great tempo and were confident on the ball. Volland volleyed his first chance over the bar on eight minutes. The first time FC Köln attacked Bernd Leno's goal came when Leonardo Bittencourt broke into the box from the touchline on eleven minutes. Köln, playing a 4-4-2 formation, looked to press early and they took the lead when Bayer 04 were outfoxed by a long throw: Guirassy turned Jonathan Tah in the six-yard box and tucked his shot into net to make it 1-0 on 22 minutes. Leno stood no chance even though the ball crept over the line.
There was a great chance to level on the half-hour mark: Wendell played a one-two with Julian Brandt and the cross from the Brazilian was met by Havertz with a shot to near post but Dominique Heintz cleared the shot away for a corner on 32 minutes. Bayer 04 were determined but found it hard to break through a well organised FC defence. Sven Bender did well just before the break to keep out a shot from Simon Zoller on 45 minutes. FC Köln went into the half-time break 1-0 up.
Heiko Herrlich reacted by making two changes at the break bringing on Alario and Benny Henrichs in place of Havertz and Retsos. The Argentinean was involved in the leveler when he passed to Volland who put Leon Bailey through with a great pass and the winger rounded the Köln keeper Horn before tucking the ball into the back of the net – 1-1, great work from the two Werkself left footers and the third Bundesliga goal for the Jamaican on 53 minutes.
Bayer 04 had their tails up with Aránguiz playing a pivotal role in many of the attacks. And Bailey was also involved in the next outstanding move when he beat Heintz on the dead ball line before aiming for the near post but Horn was able to save with his foot on 65 minutes. The Köln keeper also saved an effort from Brandt on 76 minutes but the Werkself upped the pressure as they went in search of the lead. At the other end, Leno turned a shot from the substitute, and former Bayer 04 youth player, Tim Handwerker, over the bar on 70 minutes. Alario, who scored in the last three home games, forced his way into the box but his shot on 72 minutes was blocked.
Bayer 04 were finally rewarded for their efforts on 73 minutes. Tah met a corner with his head and Sven Bender finished like a striker to make it 2-1 on 73 minutes – the Werkself turned the game round and the BayArena rocked. And Bender, who also scored at Gladbach, tested Horn again with a header to the near post on 78 minutes.
The hosts now controlled proceedings , moving the ball well and making the opponents run and it looked like the result was settled after a great counter attack: Brandt put Bailey through and his pass was converted by Volland to make it 3-1 on 85 minutes. Or so everybody thought – but the referee Gräfe activated the video review and ruled out the strike for a handball in the build-up by Bailey. There were four minutes of added time but Köln did not have another chance. The final whistle – and massive celebrations at the BayArena.
Bayer 04 are away to FC Augsburg on matchday eleven on Saturday 4 November at 15.30 CET.
Bayer 04: Leno – Retsos (Henrichs 46'), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Aránguiz, Baumgartlinger – Bailey (Kohr 89'), Havertz (Alario 46.'), Brandt – Volland
FC Köln: T. Horn – Sörensen, Maroh (Klünter 46'), Heintz, J. Horn – Osako (Handwerker 64'), Lehmann (Jojic 77'), Özcan, Bittencourt – Zoller, Guirassy
Goals: 0-1 Guirassy (22'), 1-1 Bailey (53'), 2-1 Sven Bender (73')
Referee: Gräfe (Berlin)
Booked: Baumgartlinger, Wendell, Alario – Zoller, Bittencourt
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