What the papers say: 'All targets very close again'

Six games unbeaten, five wins clocked up with two heavyweights knocked out at Bayern and now at home to Schalke: The media highlight the current strength of Bayer 04 following the 2-1 win for the Werkself against Schalke 04. What the papers say:

'Mix of skill and fight'



Perfect preparation: Charles Aránguiz' assist for the second goal scored by Lucas Alario was the icing on the cake.

'Back in the leading group' was the headline in the online edition of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and the current situation for Leverkusen is summed up in one point: "Bayer 04 Leverkusen have followed up the lucky 2-1 win in Munich with a deserved 2-1 victory over FC Schalke 04 and are now sixth in the table. At the end of the year, all targets are very close again in the closely packed leading group." Under the heading "That was good": "The skill of Leverkusen in the first half and the willingness to fight in the second. Above all in central midfield, the Werkself dominated the aggressive Schalke team for long periods and forced them to cover back, lose possession and commit fouls. The mix of skill and fight – perfectly embodied by the little Chilean Charles Aránguiz – made the difference in this game." The conclusion is as follows: "Bayer 04 have, as in the games against Wolfsburg and Bayern, shown desire and winning mentality when they weren't able to assert their skill. That's a big difference from the Bayer 04 teams of recent years. Albeit, that is significantly due to players like the Bender twins and Charles Aránguiz being on the pitch and able to drive the team forward and exert their influence. In their current state – and sometimes with a bit of luck – Bayer 04 are suddenly able to beat every opponent antwhere at any time."

'Absolutely dominant after taking the lead'


Had a good comeback and was once again the key player in many moves: Kai Havertz.

The Bild am Sonntag awards top marks to both the double goalscorer Lucas Alario and Charles Aránguiz and reports: "Leverkusen were absolutely dominant after taking the lead on the newly laid turf. They combined well in the penalty area driven on by the super talent Kai Havertz. The playmaker has returned to the starting eleven after recovering from a muscle injury and he was also willing to shoot. Nübel was only able to parry a shot to the side. Bailey hammered the ball into the back of the net (19'). But the second goal did not count. The Jamaican was offside. Nübel more than made amends for his initial slip-up. His double save for the shots from Alario and Bailey (40'). But he was unable to prevent the Schalke defeat. The Leverkusen dominance in numbers: 58% possession, twelve shots to three. Schalke have not had as many shots on their goal in the first half as against Leverkusen." Lucas Alario is quoted as follows after the game: "The coach picks the team and we all have to accept his decisions. It was a day where it was my turn and I was able to show what I can do. Only eleven players can play and for me it's about taking my chance – and I did it really well."

'All set up for Juve'

The Ruhr-Nachrichten comes to the following conclusion: "Bayer Leverkusen are more and more getting into the swing of things in the Bundesliga and are all set up for the Champions League big match against Juventus. The Rhinelanders have now gone six games without defeat and beat FC Schalke 04 2-1 on Saturday night in the big Western clash a week after the 2-1 win at FC Bayern and are now in the middle of the battle for the European qualification spots."

'Right on it for weeks'

When the sporting managing director has reason to be cheerful: Rudi Völler clearly pleased with the performance and result against Schalke.

There is a similar assessment in the online edition of the Kicker: "Bayer 04 Leverkusen have been right on it for weeks – and they confirmed their form in the home game against FC Schalke 04. The attractive Werkself side came out on top with a 2-1 win against the Royal Blues, moving up to sixth place ahead of FC Bayern Munich who have slipped down to seventh. The man of the match was striker Alario who netted a brace. … That obviously pleased the management. Above all, managing director Rudi Völler who said to Sky after the game: 'The Bundesliga is a bit more exciting after our win. We have a lot of good teams ahead of us and I include Schalke even if it was a deserved win for us today. And six points in a couple of days – that's good.'"

'Hard to be more of a striker'


The first blow: Lucas Alario beats Schalke keeper Nübel with a header.

"Leverkusen's winning run continues: Bayer on a run," says the online edition of the Rheinische Post. Lucas Alario is awarded top marks in the ratings with the assessment: “Came into the starting line-up in place of Kevin Volland who was probably being rested for the Champions League game against Juventus. Headed the opener after a quarter of an hour and later had the opportunity to make it 2-0 but fluffed his chance with a shot in the box. The Argentine was somewhat less conspicuous in the second half but he was in the right place to make it 2-0. Hard to be more of a striker."

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