Werkself on track with 3-2 win

The upward trend of the Werkself continued in the Bundesliga match against SV Darmstadt 98. Following last weekend’s 2-1 victory at Wolfsburg and Wednesday’s 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, Bayer 04 secure a 3-2 home win in a one-sided game of football against the Lilies. Roger Schmidt’s team are closing in on the top of the table and the Werkself now have 16 points from ten games.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

After the demands of the past few weeks, Roger Schmidt rotated his team for the match against Darmstadt 98. In addition to Kevin Kampl, who suffered a bruised foot in London on Wednesday, the Bayer 04 coach had to make do without Lars Bender (heel) and Kevin Volland (suspended). Hakan Calhanoglu replaced Charles Aránguiz in the holding midfield role with Kai Havertz playing on the right in his first start in the Bundesliga.

Impressive Havertz, lively Brandt, clinical Calhanoglu

The Werkself started brightly and set the tone for the game. However, the first chance of the match fell to the visitors with Aleksander Milosevic having an unchallenged shot from a central position from a corner on eight minutes. The misdirected effort did not unduly trouble the Bayer 04 keeper Bernd Leno. Darmstadt dropped back after that move. Driven on by the dynamic Julian Brandt and the equally impressive Havertz, the Werkself endeavoured to find gaps in the visitors’ defence but the Lilies succeeded in closing down spaces.

On 32 minutes, Calhanoglu had enough of his team’s passing game: After a throw-in on the right Brandt picked out the Turkey international and he fired in a right-foot shot from 18 yards out that hit the inside of the left-hand post. The ball went in off the upright to give the hosts a deserved lead. The Werkself continued to dominate but the two sides went in to the half-time break with score still 1-0.

Setback after restart

The visitors’ coach Norbert Meier made two changes to his line-up at the break with Antonio Colak coming on for Sven Schipplock. And that substitution soon paid off with Colak converting an assist from Marcel Heller to exploit a lapse of concentration by the hosts to net the equaliser from close range (47’).

The Werkself refused to be daunted by the leveller and they continued to press forward. On 56 minutes, Julian Baumgartlinger showed his ability to read the game and he put a diagonal ball into the box from the left side of midfield for Brandt to beat Leon Guwara at the far post to head the Werkself back into the lead. Shortly after that, the 20-year-old was unlucky with a low drive from the left side of the penalty area that hit the post (65’).

There was no sign of tiredness for Schmidt’s team over the course of the game and they continued to create chances. A Werkself corner found the ball land at the feet of substitute Aránguiz and he made no mistake with an impressive technique that saw him thrash the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-1 on 70 minutes. Bayer 04 remained dominant. Benny Henrichs, who produced another impressive display following his call-up to the Germany senior squad, took a chance on 80 minutes with an effort from the edge of the box – the Darmstadt keeper Michael Esser turned the ball round the post.

Goal out of the blue

When the game looked to be done and dusted the rather disappointing Darmstadt side had a corner with five minutes to play. Jerôme Gondorf crossed for substitute Mario Vrancic to make it 3-2 with the visitors’ second shot of the match. There was nothing of much note after that before the final whistle so Bayer 04 were able to celebrate a successful week.

The Bayer 04 pros now go into the international break (with a World Cup qualifier for Germany on 11 November in San Marino and a friendly against Italy on 15 November) before the Werkself start Bundesliga matchday eleven on Friday 18 November (20.30 CET) with a home game against Leipzig.

Match stats

Bayer 04: Leno - Henrichs, Tah, Toprak (Dragovic 84’), Wendell - Baumgartlinger, Calhanoglu - Brandt (Kießling 90’) - Chicharito, Mehmedi (Aránguiz 59’)

Darmstadt 98: Esser - Höhn, Milosevic, Sulu, Guwara - Gondorf, Jungwirth - Heller, Kleinheisler (Vrancic 75’), Ben-Hatira (Siguru 46’) - Shipplock (Colak 46’)

Goals: 1-0 Calhanoglu (32’), 1-1 Colak (47’), 2-1 Brandt (56’), 3-1 Aránguiz (69’), 3-2 Vrancic (85’)

Booked: - / Guwara

Referee: Harm Osmers (Hannover)

Attendance: 33,210 (sell-out)


© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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