What the papers say: ‘Leverkusen came close to winning’

A great away game at one of the top teams in the league brings Bayer 04 approval from the sports reporters. Some of the reports indicate the Werkself could have picked up more than just one point.

“Bayer Leverkusen upset Leipzig” reads the headline in the Kölnische Rundschau and the report talks about an “an important point in the battle for a European qualification spot” from a Bayer 04 perspective.

“When the second-placed team plays the side in fifth place, when one of the strongest home teams in the league meets on of the most successful away clubs with seven wins to date – then you can expect an exciting games,” writes the FAZ on the pre-match situation. “It often enough remains an expectation and the whole thing proves to be a disappointment because the tactical circumstances frustrate everything from the start. That fear is within bounds whenever Bayer Leverkusen are in the game,” comments the newspaper. “As Bayer coach Peter Bosz had no intention of sitting back in his own half against RB and just wait for the chance to play on break: Bayer were strong in challenges and they tried to force Leipzig into giving the ball away.”

“Great attack” for “richly deserved” lead

That tactic paid dividends in the opening 30 minutes and was justifiably rewarded as the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reports: “Amiri won (…) the ball in his own half and set up Havertz. The Germany international brilliantly picked out Leon Bailey in the middle – the Jamaican rounded off the great attack to make it 1-0.”

The Süddeutsche Zeitung describes the opening goal as “richly deserved for Leverkusen, who looked more alert as they again and again breached gaps in the Leipzig line-up.” However, the 1-0 lead did not last long as the SZ goes on to report: “In spite of a below par display up to that point, Julian Nagelsmann’s team only needed two minutes and seven seconds to level the scores. Schick scored with a header from a free kick (32’).”

Close to winning – praise for the defence

The match analysis in the kicker reads as follows: “After just a few minutes, Bayer regained their confidence (…). After the restart, Leverkusen to hold on to possession and move the ball around to deny Leipzig the opportunity to mount dangerous counter-attacks.” The sports journal continues: “Bayer had relatively little trouble in keeping the, at times, wayward hosts away from their goal.” The conclusion is: “Leverkusen came close to winning.”

The assessment of the Rheinische Post is equally positive. Above all the defence, who kept the top-class Leipzig attack at bay, received a lot of praise. For example, Wendell who “at times taking risks and at others with great care, defused several critical situations,” Edmond Tapsoba was “impressive again” and Jonathan Tah “played some good passes in opening up the game.” Lukas Hradecky also received praise for his “great” save to deny Nkunku shortly after the restart.

Evidence of an impressive performance

An interesting piece of evidence for Leverkusen’s impressive dominance is in the BILD with a look at the hosts from Leipzig. Just 40 per cent possession, RB have only once had less of the ball this season (in the 1-1 draw with Bayern on matchday four).” The tabloid sums up: “Leverkusen’s run continues!” To support that contention, the BILD provides another statistic: “The record from the last eleven games: Nine wins, one draw and just one defeat.”

The EXPRESS tales a look at the table and reports: “The Champions League positions are in immediate reach again.” At the end of the report, the paper looks forward: “Bayer now focus on Wednesday night’s cup quarter-final against Union Berlin for the first time.”

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