What the papers say: 'Suffered a setback'

Following the 2-0 defeat for the high-flying Werkself against Hertha Berlin, the media looked for the reasons for the second home defeat of the season.

The Sunday edition of the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger draws a firm conclusion: "After weeks of good and respectable results, second-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen suffered a serious setback. Four days after going through to the DFB Cup semi-finals, the Werkself lost 2-0 at home to an anything but intimidating  Hertha Berlin side. And deservedly so.  … A number of the best players of recent weeks were rested by coach Heiko Herrlich: Charles Aranguiz, Wendell and Leon Bailey. It became clear Bayer 04 are not the same side that reached second spot in the league and the semi-finals of the DFB Cup when these players are missing. … Perhaps the setback could have been avoided if Bailey, Aranguiz and Wendell had been in the starting line-up. Or perhaps not."

The Sonntags Express also takes account of the strength of the visitors: "There was a lack of penetration in the absence of Bailey, Wendell and Aranguiz. On top of that, the injured captain  Lars Bender was also a massive miss. It was completely the opposite for Hertha. The Berliners, without a win in  2018, ruthlessly exploited Bayer's individual errors to register the first win at Leverkusen in ten years."  The paper then highlights the  chances missed by Leverkusen: " After the match, Kevin Volland also took exception to the conversion of chances. 'We lacked that little bit of luck today so we deserved to lose. Hertha were very clever.' " 

The online edition of the Rheinische Post sees the whole thing as seasonal with Köln, Mainz and Düsseldorf also losing: "Carnival and the Rhineland clubs did not really go together on Saturday. Düsseldorf lost 3-1 at Union Berlin and Leverkusen 2-0 at home to Hertha Berlin two hours later. The supporters did not have much to celebrate even with the Carnival season in full swing. A large number of fans opted to leave their Bayer shirts at home in favour of wearing fancy dress."

Under the headline 'Leverkusen squander 4 chances in 7 seconds', the Bild am Sonntag focus falls on the most unusual moment of the game: "71st minute: Jarstein parries the ball in the penalty area  and then picks it up - indirect free kick seven yards out from goal. Seven seconds of squandered madness: Bailey's shot is blocked, the rebound kept out by Lustenberger. Volland hammers the ball against the bar and  it finishes with Jarstein collecting the ball inches ahead of Alario. Jarstein on Sky talking about his 'blackout': 'I swear: I've done that many times before, including earlier in the season. I've done it all through my career. You see it throughout Europe. Perhaps I got it wrong. Now I know I can't do it again."

The online edition of the  Kicker provides a sober analysis: "Hertha competed on equal terms from the start but the hosts had the better moves. Alario just failed to connect with a cross from Bellarabi on six minutes, Retsos tested Jarstein from a Brandt corner on eight minutes. At the other end, Darida came closest for Hertha with a long-range effort. As the game went on, Leverkusen increasingly took control of proceedings without creating  any further chances against the  well-organised defence of the team from the capital. Instead, the Berliners were ruthless."


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