The top game on matchday six, broadcast in 197 countries, offered a fitting stage for three special anniversaries. Bayer 04 invited the 1968 team, who won the Regional League West and just missed out on promotion to the Bundesliga in a narrow defeat to Kickers Offenbach 50 years ago, as well as the UEFA Cup winners of 1988 on their 30th anniversary, and the DFB Cup winners of 1993 on their 25th anniversary. The almost 50 strong group of Bayer 04 heroes were honoured on the pitch by the club management and also by a fantastic choreography from the Bayer 04 fans ahead of the game. Everything was set up for a great night of football in front of a full house.
The Werkself went into the clash with the Black and Yellow is in confident mood after three wins in succession as they looked to continue the winning run. However, BVB travelled to Leverkusen on the back of a 7-0 victory over FC Nürnberg in the week as the only unbeaten team in the league.
Heiko Herrlich made three changes to the side that beat Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1: Mitchell Weiser started at right back in place of Tin Jedvaj, Julian Brandt took over from Leon Bailey in midfield and Lucas Alario was up front in place of Isaac Kiese Thelin.
Then came the start of a thrilling encounter between the Black and Reds and the Black and Yellows. The Werkself were on the front foot straightaway as they pressed Dortmund hard. However, the first dangerous move from the hosts also involved Borussia when Dan-Axel Zagadou turned a Brandt corner just past his own net on seven minutes. The ball was in the back of Roman Bürki's goal two minutes later. Kai Havertz played a delightful ball to Alario on the left flank and the Argentinian crossed to the right corner of the penalty area where Mitchell Weiser did not hesitate as he fired a volley from 18 metres out into the left corner to put the Werkself 1-0 up - Bürki stood no chance. It was the first goal for Weiser in a Leverkusen shirt and a deserved lead for Bayer 04.
BVB responded to the challenge of going behind by upping their game. Christian Pulisic tested Lukas Hradecky with a shot from 16 metres out on 12 minutes. Even though the visitors now had more of the possession, the Werkself kept it tight at the back with the defence focused and well-organised. BVB were kept away from the danger zone and they needed a set piece for their next chance. Marco Reus curled a free-kick round the Leverkusen wall but Hradecky was on his toes (36').
It remained an intense encounter but it was Bayer 04 who were clinical shortly after that: Dortmund were unable to clear the ball from a Brandt corner, Havertz was first to intervene as he laid the ball off to the left for Jonathan Tah, who sold a dummy to a defender before turning the ball into the net from close range to make it 2-0 for the hosts on 40 minutes. The Werkself took the two-goal lead into the break after an impressive first 45 minutes.
After the restart, the visitors had the first chance when Reus curled the ball over the target on 40 minutes. Almost straightaway, Brandt made an irresistible solo run before unleashing a shot on goal - Bürki tipped the ball onto the bar with his fingers (50'). The two teams now traded blows at the BayArena. BVB were more aggressive, the Werkself impressive on the break and they were unlucky when Kevin Volland hit the post with a shot from 17 metres out after a great move involving Havertz and Brandt (54'). Shortly after that, the once again brilliant Havertz had another chance but Bürki was able to save his shot (57'). But Dortmund were not beaten and new hope came for the visitors when Jacob Bruun Larsen was on hand for a tap-in to make it 2-1 after Hradecky parried a shot from Reus (65').
At the other end, Havertz failed to properly connect with a header and was unable to beat Bürki (69').The match was being played at a frenetic pace. Dortmund hit back with tempo and, after a one-two with Jadon Sancho, Reus hammered the ball into the back of the net to level at 2-2 (69'). BVB, who now had the upper hand over Werkself, turned the game around with a strike from Paco Alcacer making it 3-2 for Dortmund (85'). Just before the 90 minutes were up, Tah headed just wide and the Werkself then threw caution to the wind in added time. Hradecky came up for a corner, BVB gained possession and used the counter-attack to wrap the game up as Alcacer scored his second goal to make it 4-2 (90+3').
The next challenge for the Werkself comes on Thursday 4 October with the next Europa League game. Bayer 04 entertain AEK Larnaca from Cyprus at the BayArena with an 18.55 CET kick-off.
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Weiser (Jedvaj 70'), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Kohr, L. Bender – Brandt, Havertz, Volland - Alario (Bailey 70')
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki - Hakimi, Akanji, Diallo, Zagadou - Witsel, Delaney (Dahoud 46') - Pulisic (Sancho 67'), Bruun Larsen - Reus - Philipp (Alcacer 63')
Goals: 1-0 Weiser (9'), 2-0 Tah (40'), 2-1 Bruun Larsen (65') , 2-2 Reus (69'), 2-3 Alcacer (85'), 2-4 Alcacer (90+3')
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych (Munich)
Booked: Wendell - Delaney
Attendance: 30,210 (capacity crowd)
Bayer 04 welcomed 14 media representatives from Africa on Friday, 1 December. The trip for journalists from the likes of Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mozambique, Togo, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana and Togo was organised by the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) with the goal of establishing and promoting Africa as a new target market for the Bundesliga.Show more
Bayer 04 has modernised its media working area in the stands at the BayArena and equipped it with new, multifunctional monitors. The 50 screens will be used for the first time for the fixture against Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 in the Bundesliga next Sunday, 3 December (kick-off: 17:30 CET) and offer the media representatives working at the BayArena on matchday numerous possibilities.Show more
Bayer 04 have little time to recover from their 2-0 win away at Häcken in the UEFA Europe League, ensuring progress to the round of 16, before their next challenge up against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Sunday (17:30 CET). At his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, head coach Xabi Alonso spoke about BVB and gave a warning about not losing focus.Show more
Spirits are high at Borussia Dortmund following their impressive display and result away at AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. On Sunday (17:30 CET), they want to keep an impressive week going with another scalp in Leverkusen. Here’s the lowdown on our next opponents.Show more