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.
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)
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
Bundesliga leaders Bayer 04 host Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 today, Sunday 3 December (17:30 CET), with a capacity crowd expected at the BayArena. Here’s all the latest information ahead of the clash with BVB.Show more
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