What the papers say: 'Now hold all the aces'

Following the 1-1 draw at Schalke, the media focus on two aspects: the underwhelming performance by the Werkself against a battling Royal Blues and perhaps an already decisive improved situation in the table.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung primarily focuses on Schalke and acknowledges their "impressive battling and the best performance since the restart." And on Leverkusen: "Bayer appeared to have assumed that the selection problems for the opponent would make it easier to register a victory this time round. (…) At least Peter Bosz was on the case from the start – he immediately recognised his players weren't performing. It did not take long for Schalke to have the first chance on goal: From a long range effort from Weston McKennie, Kutucu had the chance to score on the rebound but was unable to control the ball. That should have been a warning for Bayer but they failed to take it. Leverkusen did have a majority of possession but in no way had control of the game in spite of the return of Kai Havertz – although Havertz was one of the few constructive players. Leverkusen did not know where to start with their superiority and instead of moving the ball around the pitch they took a direct approach where Schalke were ready to confront danger as a group."

"As if they had tasted blood"

The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger assesses the final game of matchday 31 as follows: "The image of giant concrete bowls without content is now part and parcel of German sport. Nevertheless, the Bundesliga does succeed in producing images of sporting competition for 90 minutes plus added time. After that, it's as if the game had never been played a few seconds later. In the case of Bayer 04 Leverkusen, that forgetting happened quicker than usual on Sunday night. As the clearly fancied team, the Werkself only managed to struggle to a 1-1 draw at Schalke 04. Nevertheless, this minimum success for the team led by Peter Bosz does put them in fourth place, which is enough to qualify for the Champions League, with three games to play. (…) Bayer 04 faced the team that looked as if they wanted to leave behind previous failures in the second half of the season and their bad luck with injuries with a massive physical effort. Having gone twelve games without a win, the Schalke players started the match as if they had tasted blood."

"Young Schalke team with great competitive spirit," was the headline in the Kicker who came to the following conclusion: "Schalke would have deserved the victory due to their great determination but Bayer finally earned a just draw with their second half performance."

In spite of an average performance, the Bild Zeitung believe Leverkusen: "Now hold all the aces in the race for the Champions League."

"All experts agree: no penalty"


No chance for the keeper: Lukas Hradecky concedes debatable penalty taken by Caligiuri.

The Cologne-based Express describes the highly contentious opening goal for Schalke: "Bayer defender Edmond Tapsoba touched the ball with his hand as he attempted a header with Juan Miranda flying at him with his knee. Nobody at the stadium saw it but the Cologne studio intervened. Ref Daniel Siebert went to the monitor – and decided to award a penalty. Daniel Caligiuri coolly converted to make it 1-0.' I'm glad luck was on our side this time. If VAR gets involved then I assume it was a handball,' said Schalke coach David Wagner (48). However, all experts were agreed this 'handball' should not have been penalised, ‘even if you love Schalke’, said former Royal Blues coach Mirko Slomka (52) on Sky 90."

The Rheinische Post writes: "As alarming as the situation currently is at Schalke, it is equally as promising for the Werkself. They are not only in the DFB Cup final for the first time since 2009 but now again have a good chance in the race to qualify for the Champions League again. However, the Werkself struggled from the first minute in Gelsenkirchen. Kai Havertz, back in the starting eleven having recovered from a knee injury, remained ineffective. And also, the team under coach Peter Bosz also looked incredibly tense. (…) The point gained by Bayer 04 could be worth its weight in gold in the final reckoning. The defeat for the rivals Gladbach, in Munich the day before, means they are back in the longed-for fourth place. In the final minute, Lukas Hradecky rescued a point with a brilliant save to deny Michael Gregoritsch."

The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung draws the following conclusion: "Bayer coach Peter Bosz had no idea of what his team would face: 'We knew Schalke would get stuck into challenges – but not with which system and with which players.' That surprise for Leverkusen was particularly evident in the first half. They noticed they weren't having their best day, failed to deal with an aggressive Schalke team that was almost unrecognisable – and with that line-up. Driven on by the coaching staff and injured players like Benjamin Stambouli in the stands, they threw themselves into challenges as if their lives depended on it."

Related News

Bayer 04 - 29.11.2023

Bayer 04 extend contract with top talent Francis Onyeka to 2027

Bayer 04 Leverkusen have given U17 player Francis Onyeka a long-term contact. The club has agreed a deal with the 16-year-old to 30 June 2027.

Show more
eSports - 29.11.2023

#Bayer04eSports: Four points on triple matchday

#B04eSports team suffered the first defeat of the season on matchday five in the VBL Club Championship 2023/24. Last night’s other games ended in a win and a draw. The Black and Reds are now fifth in the North West division.

Show more
Europa League - 28.11.2023

Our next opponents: Third-place finish in Swedish top-flight

BK Häcken have yet to gain a point in Group H. The club from Gothenburg entertain the Werkself on Thursday 30 November (kick-off: 21.00 CET). Häcken will be looking to improve their record in the last European home game of the year against the group leaders.

Show more
Bayer 04 - 27.11.2023

Letter from 27 November 1903: Basis for foundation of club in 1904

Bayer 04 celebrate a special anniversary next year. 1 July 1904 saw the foundation of the sports club from the paint factories called the ‘Turn- und Spielverein der Farbenfabriken vorm. Friedr. Bayer & Co. in Leverkusen’

Show more
Bundesliga - 26.11.2023

Werkself review #SVWB04: ' Clear game plan' with 'mature performance'

The Werkself beat Werder Bremen 3-0 on Bundesliga matchday 12 and again succeeded in holding on to top spot in the table as well as setting a new Bundesliga and club record. The facts, stats and reaction to the away win in Bremen is here in the Werkself review.

Show more