What the papers say: 'Easy for Leverkusen'

"Football spectacle", "Offensive festival", "Full-on attacking football": The media are waxing lyrical about the 5-1 win for the Werkself at Mainz. We've put together reaction from the press.

Under the headline "Easy for Leverkusen", the Frankfurter Rundschau reports: "There was no lack of a courageous approach in the FSV Mainz 05 match magazine: 'Floodlit Friday: Total football from the first to the last minute.' Unfortunately, only the visitors had their foot on the gas in the Bundesliga home game against Bayer Leverkusen with most of the 21,905 spectators looking on open-mouthed: (Mainz) 05 were unable to keep pace and they were given a lesson in a 5-1 defeat, the like of which they've not seen this season. At times it looked like the players at the arena on the Europa roundabout were moving at different speeds. As fast as lightning, the fleet-footed Leverkusen players clocked up their goals through Wendell (5'), Kai Havertz (20'), Julian Brandt (30' and 64') and Karim Bellarabi (43'). The equaliser from Robin Quaison (9') hardly disrupted the Werkself who, with their relentless attacking approach, allowed the opposition a large number of chances."

The Kölner Stadt Anzeiger writes: "The marketing strategists at FSV Mainz 05 came up with humorous idea of staging the Friday night game against Leverkusen in the spirit of carnival. Their team ran out in multicoloured checked shirts. The Mainz minstrels lustily sang their songs before the game. A carnival brass band performed at half-time. But it was the Werkself who were the ringmasters with the hosts suffering a 5-1 defeat on their own ground (…) And everybody set off as if there were no tomorrow. FSV Mainz were clearly aware of the Bayer slip-up at Heidenheim and recognised that the Werkself had problems when they were attacked near their own penalty area. And so the physically strong hosts set out to challenge the rather more delicate Bayer 04 players with force. However they had their full arsenal of footballing tools with them, above all scalpel and filigreed saw. The result was a football spectacle rarely seen in the caution-obsessed Bundesliga. Tending to ignore defensive thoughts, both teams created great chances one after the other with Leverkusen having three for every one Mainz effort."

And the Rheinische Post also took account of the Mainz 'Carnival matchday' at Opel Arena: "The fifth season is entering its main phase. Accordingly, many Mainz fans joined in on Friday night. They came to the arena in colourful make-up and costume to see their FSV play in a special carnival kit and hopefully celebrate with them. However, the opponents Bayer Leverkusen proved to be spoilsports. The team under coach Peter Bosz won an outstanding match 5-1 and, for the first time this season, moved up to fifth place – at least for one night."

The assessment of the Bild: "Leverkusen blew away their cup frustration. Three days after the embarrassing exit against Heidenheim (1-2), there was a 5-1 win at Mainz with full-on attacking football. The outstanding player: Julian Brandt. The attacking midfielder was involved in four goals (two goals, to assist), made 22 challenges and was a constant threat."

The Express also identifies Julian Brandt as the 'Man of the Match': "The (Germany) international is the first Leverkusen player to be involved in four goals in one game since Stefan Kießling in 2015."

Other press reaction:

WAZ: "Bayer Leverkusen overcame any cup frustrations and returned to their relentless rise up the Bundesliga with an outstanding offensive performance."

Kicker: "After the cup exit away to second division Heidenheim, Bayer Leverkusen hit back with an impressive performance. (…) It was a breathtaking game in the first 45 minutes with the Mainz defence all at sea. (…) As soon as the visitors upped the tempo, Mainz were overwhelmed. (…) Bayer did ease off somewhat after the break but remained on top at all times."

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