Head coach Peter Bosz made one change to the side that started in the 2-1 home win against Borussia Dortmund: Daley Sinkgraven replaced Wendell at left-back. Good news: Winger Karim Bellarabi returned to the squad for the first since breaking his hand in the Bundesliga clash at Eintracht Frankfurt (1-2). And Julian Baumgartlinger was back in the squad after also missing the game against BVB. Striker Patrik Schick was sidelined for the game against the Wolves after suffering a slight injury in training.
Less than 180 seconds had been played at the BayArena and the Werkself had the first clear-cut chance through Nadiem Amiri: Lars Bender put the Germany international through from midfield and he unleashed a shot from the right side of the target. Amiri beat the VfL goalkeeper Koen Casteels but central defender Maxence Lacroix was able to make the clearance off the line (3'). And the hosts continued to play on the front foot. Shortly after that, a cross from the right by Moussa Diaby found the head of Lucas Alario. The effort from the Argentinian from five yards out hit the right-hand post (6'). At the other end, Renato Steffen put a shot wide of the Werkself net with the first opportunity for the visitors in this top match (8') – a bright start in the clash between the teams in third and fifth place in the Bundesliga.
After a brief period without any real chances for either side, Alario again tested the VfL defence. The centre forward once again had a chance from a Diaby cross from five yards out – but Casteels was able to make the save (21'). Eight minutes later, Florian Wirtz, scorer of the winner in the clash with Dortmund, rounded off a move again involving Diaby but Casteels was able to save the right-foot effort. The Bosz team increasingly took control of the game but had to be aware of the constant threat on the break from the fast Wolfsburg forward Steffen.
The Swiss international was involved in setting up the opening goal for the Wolves on 35 minutes: Steffen crossed from the left flank to the far post. Ridle Baku was unmarked a few yards out and he was able to guide his header into the left corner of the net. Only the second shot on goal in the game from the visitors brought the lead. Paolo Otávio had the third and final effort for the team from Lower Saxony in the first half – a long-range effort from the left-back was saved by Lukas Hradecky (45’). The half-time whistle soon followed.
At the restart, fans watching on TV saw a new face in the black Werkself home kit. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, signed from top English club Manchester United a few days ago, came on for Lars Bender. The experienced full-back did not return to the pitch after suffering a blow to the back of his head in the middle of the first half. In contrast to the first 45, the second half started with comparatively few goalscoring opportunities with neither the Werkself nor VfL creating a chance in the first 20 minutes. It was only in the 67th minute that the next noteworthy incident occurred much of the disappointment of the visitors. Wolfsburg's striker Wout Weghorst chanced his luck from outside the box but Hradecky was able to get his hand to the shot and thereby prevent the Werkself going 2-0 down.
Head coach Peter Bosz reacted with 20 minutes to go by making a triple substitution. While Julian Baumgartlinger and Kerem Demirbay replaced Charles Aránguiz and Amiri in midfield, the introduction of winger Karim Bellarabi in place of central defender Jonathan Tah involved changing the formation to a 3-5-2 system. Baumgartlinger was substituted a few minutes after coming on: The Austrian had to be helped off due to a knee injury (81'). With the exception of an effort from Sinkgraven from 15 yards out that Casteels tipped over the bar, not much more happened and the Werkself ended up suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat against the visitors from Wolfsburg.
The team under Peter Bosz are not in action during the week. Bayer 04 travel to Saxony next weekend to face RB Leipzig on Saturday 30 January (kick-off: 18.30 CET).
Bayer 04: Hradecky – L. Bender (Fosu-Mensah 46'), Tah (Bellarabi 74'), Tapsoba, Sinkgraven – Wirtz, Aránguiz (Baumgartlinger 74'/ Wendell 81’), Amiri (Demirbay 74’) – Diaby, Alario, Bailey
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Mbabu, Lacroix, Brooks, Otávio – Schlager (Bialek 90 +4’), Arnold – Baku (Guilavogui 83’), Gerhardt, Steffen (Brekalo 61’) – Weghorst
Goals: 0-1 Baku (35’)
Referee: Marco Fritz (Korb)
Booked: Alario – Lacroix
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
Bayer 04 involvement with the ‘Kältegang Leverkusen’ project continues this winter. The current Bundesliga league leaders and their fans again presented financial and in-kind donations to the homeless charity at home game against Borussia Dortmund (1-1).Show more
For the 17th time, Bayer 04 Sportförderung gGmbH has awarded the Volunteers Award for outstanding commitment to football in Leverkusen and the surrounding region. The three outstanding clubs in 2023 are BSV Roleber 1919, TuS 05 Oberpleis and SV 1924 Glehn. They will each receive prize money of €5,000.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
Two Bayer 04 players are on the shortlist for November 2023’s Goal of the Month on broadcaster ARD’s ‘Sportschau’. Fans have until midday CET on 20 December to vote for Alejandro Grimaldo’s opening goal in the Bundesliga game against Union Berlin or for Verena Wieder’s equaliser against RB Leipzig in the Google Pixel Women’s Bundesliga.Show more