What the papers say: Chances wasted on slippery surface

The media are unanimous in their assessment of the 1-1 draw between Bayer 04 and SC Freiburg: The clearly superior team missed out on a deserved victory. What the papers say on Sunday:

The online edition of the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger portrays events at the BayArena succinctly: “Bayer 04 win this game 99 times out of a 100.” The report picks out the “the key moment of the game”: “The final Leverkusen chance missed by Karim Bellarabi sums up the drama of the game. After a last, impressive pass from Diaby, the winger shoots at goal from four feet out on 87 minutes. Everybody thought it would settle the result. Goal! And then the ball flies over the bar in an incredible loop. The drama of the missed chances reached an absurd climax.”

‘Pace and elegance’

In the ‘That was good’ section, we read: “The intensity of Bayer 04 after a tough first quarter of an hour. The Werkself dominated the game in all areas. The opposition rarely approached the Leverkusen goal, did not hold on to the ball, were almost constantly chasing the game and conceded a large number of good chances.” Moussa Diaby was named man of the match: “The 20-year-old impressed with his pace, elegance, technique and spatial awareness. It was evident why Bayer 04 were happy in the summer to have signed him from Paris St. Germain for a reasonable fee.”

‘Treacherous surface’

The online edition of the Rheinische Post focuses on players struggling to avoid slipping at the BayArena: “It’s one of the oldest excuses in the history of football when a game does not go to plan: It’s the fault of the pitch. In the case of Bayer Leverkusen’s 1-1 draw with SC Freiburg, the cliche of a limp explanation of a coach, often expressed with a wink, enjoyed a renaissance based on fact. ...Freiburg’s keeper Mark Flekken slipped as he took a goal kick, Diaby lost his footing on the pitch in the second half when he had a great chance to score and missed. The players on both sides found the surface difficult to master, which was definitely due to torrential rain this week – and the four home games for Bayer 04 in a short space of time before the international break. To that extent, it is understandable the treacherous surface for a Bundesliga game was a subject of discussion after the game. ‘The pitch was incredibly greasy,’ said Freiburg’s coach Christian Streich as he praised the Werkself performance and said he could live with the flattering 1-1 draw from Freiburg perspective. His Leverkusen counterpart Peter Bosz also emphasised the state of the pitch was not ideal for the way he wants his team to play. ‘We all saw that not just us but also the opposition kept slipping.’ Bayer are a team that builds from the back and wants to move the ball at pace. “It’s difficult on that pitch,” complained the Dutchman. “It didn’t help us.”

‘Never so lucky to get a point’

The Bild am Sonntag also sees the state of the pitch as a crucial part of report: “The surface brings Leverkusen down to earth. The 1-1 draw with Freiburg was like a skating party with players on both sides slipping up. ...The Freiburg goalkeeper Flekken slipped early on (2’) leading to an indirect free kick. Höfler was shown a yellow card after sliding into Lars Bender (65’). Diaby missed the chance to take the lead after his leveller at 1-1 (36’) as he rounded Flekken but then slipped (68’). Coach Bosz on the slippery pitch: ‘I don’t need to say much at all, everybody could see it. It’s difficult not to slip on this pitch.' Freiburg coach Streich: ‘It was like being on a skating rink.’ However, the SC were happy with the point. Nils Petersen: ‘I think I’ve never been so lucky to get a point.’”

The Cologne-based Express headline reads ‘Missed chances sour Diaby gala performance’ and quoted Freiburg’s sporting director Jochen Saier after the game with these words: “With our luck, we should have had a go on the lottery today.”

The assessment of the Kicker reads: ‘Missed chances galore: Leverkusen denied by Flekken and the woodwork: SC Freiburg stole a point at the BayArena in the away game at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. With the Rhinelanders clearly on top, it was the men from Freiburg who took the lead early on and they had a huge slice of luck that the hosts squandered several clear-cut chances.”


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