What the papers say: 'Dogged performance by the Werkself'

The reporters were unanimous that Bayer 04 did not produce a spectacular display on Sunday afternoon. But the 2-0 win at Wolfsburg demonstrated other qualities of the Werkself in the view of the press.

"A victory of the will" was the headline in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger on Monday and the report continues: "After four games without a win, this unexceptional but extremely important win prevented slipping further down the table. The Werkself made a mineral improvement amongst the top ten but Hoffenheim in fourth place are only two points away." As "symptomatic of this modest display" the newspaper picked out the build-up to the opening goal: "Karim Bellarabi raced down the right in typical manner with the ball at his feet. In the box he was surrounded by three opponents which only encouraged his determination to get his own way. With a bit of luck and a rebounding ball he was able to shoot from three yards out and celebrate." In the end, the game turned into a "pure battle" that may have been related to the substitutions of Kai Havertz and Karim Bellarabi. "The possible was replaced by the desired."

The match report in the Express is under a similar headline: "Dogged performance by the Werkself" – and, as in the KSt-A, they see the first goal as indicative: "Bayer winger Bellarabi somehow managed to weave past several opponents before hammering the winner into the back of the net. A goal of desire.

Bellarabi's "super solo" – Paulinho writes history

The BILD describes Bellarabi's goal as a "super solo" where he dribbled past four Wolfsburg players. The finale of the second goal as described by the tabloid as follows: "In added time, Volland picked out substitute Paulinho at the end of a quick counter-attack. The Brazilian was clinical as he slotted the ball away to make it 2-0 (90+6')."

The goal was a reason for the kicker to look through their archives: Paulinho had "made himself the youngest Brazilian to score for the Werkself." Otherwise, Bayer 04 left a lot to be desired but could take positives back to Leverkusen. The sports magazine quotes coach Peter Bosz: "I didn't know my team could battle like that."

Impressive central defence

The analysis in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung describes the Werkself win as deserved with Bayer 04 the better of two teams who failed to reach the limit of their ability. "The game was not at all one-sided but was decided by spirited action on both sides," wrote the FAZ. "The difference was that Leverkusen posed a greater threat going forwards and offered more options." The newspaper described the opening goal as a "cheek" because Karim Bellarabi "rounded four opponents and made them look like statues on the way to scoring his goal." Two defenders received special praise: "The outstanding central defence of Jonathan Tah and Sven Bender had little trouble preventing Weghorst spoiling their day at work."

The two central defenders were also favourably reviewed by the Rheinische Post. On Tah: "Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst, who was involved in several spicy challenges with Tah, was in good hands with the central defender." Bender's work assessment: "Dazed and laid out on the pitch after a challenge with Joao Victor (…), he pulled himself together, carried on playing and organised the defence. He won lots of important tackles."


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