Werkself review #B04SCF: You never leave completely

Bayer 04 have brought an impressive Bundesliga season to a successful conclusion: The 2-1 win at the BayArena against Sport Club Freiburg was win 04 in succession. Two farewells clearly eclipsed events on the pitch on a wonderful afternoon. The Werkself review...


The story of the match is quickly told. After a reasonable first half without any notable highlights, where Patrik Schick had the best chance for the Werkself with a header (36’), the game took off after the restart. Schick did not score this time but stood out as a selfless provider when he beat two Freiburg players and set up Lucas Alario to score the opener (54’). Schick did hit the bar (59’), Paulinho the outside of the post (64’). Freiburg levelled late on with a goal from Haberer (88’) before Bayer 04 regained the lead against opponents risking everything. A header from Sardar Azmoun also hit the woodwork but Exequiel Palacios made it 2-1 in the seventh minute of added time with a shot from just inside the halfway line into the empty Freiburg net. HERE is the match report.



On a day where football was no longer centre stage from a Leverkusen perspective, attention was primarily on Rudi Völler and Julian Baumgartlinger. “There is definitely no one in German football who will not miss him,” said Freiburg coach Christian Streich about the departing Bayer 04 sporting managing director. Both Völler and Julian Baumgartlinger, who also said farewell after six years in Black and Red, were visibly moved. “Today is the day where I’d like to say thank you to you all,” said Völler who climbed onto the fence in the North Stand to celebrate with the fans at the end of the game: “The big challenge was not to get injured climbing this mountain.” Baumi shared an insight into his emotions: “I’m deeply affected and eternally grateful for the appreciation I’ve always experienced here and, above all, today. Thank you for six great years! We will definitely meet again – either in the stadium or outside.”



You never completely leave: Rudi Völler remains at Bayer 04 after the end of his term in management as a member of the shareholders committee and as a club ambassador. And it is certain that players like Julian Baumgartlinger will always have a strong connection to “their” club. In that respect, it was great that the most recent Bayer 04 honorary captain Lars Bender was again a guest at the BayArena. Bender was one of the many VIP guests on Saturday night at the farewell party for Rudi Völler at the Bayer AG casino. In addition to Bayer 04 staff, who presented Völler with a set of golf clubs, there were many other greats from the Leverkusen past including former coach Dragoslav Stepanovic, Berti Vogts and Christoph Daum as well as the former club bosses Reiner Calmund and Wolfgang Holzhäuser.



The important stats were certain before the game: Bayer 04 finished third in the table and have qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the thirteenth time in the club’s history. In addition, the two goals for the Werkself against SC Freiburg extends the record to 80 goals in a season. Also worth noting: Bayer 04 are the second best away team in the league with 32 points from 17 matches behind FC Bayern (36). And no team picked up more points than Leverkusen in the Rückrunde (36, as did RB Leipzig).



For the media, the departure of Rudi Völler played the main role rather than the match against Freiburg. “Ruuudi climbs the fence to lead the singing,” is the headline in the Express. Nearly all the other reports were according to the motto “Bayer celebrate Völler”. The Bild am Sonntag does look at one curiosity: “Leverkusen win with four keepers. Bayer coach Seoane gives goalkeeper Lunev his Bundesliga debut and also has three other goalkeepers (Hradecky, Lomb, Grill) on the bench as a thank you for their hard work and loyalty over the season.”


There is a small postscript for the Werkself at the end of this season: A Leverkusen delegation sets off from Frankfurt airport on Sunday for a six-day Mexico trip. In addition to a friendly on Tuesday 17 May at Mexican top-flight club Deportivo Toluca there will be a range of marketing and PR events as part of the centenary celebrations at Bayer Mexico. After holidays and the summer break – the international players have a number of fixtures in June – Gerardo Seoane will welcome his squad back to training on 27 June 27.


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