What the papers say: ‘Take up the challenge of the relegation battle’

Even though Kevin Volland had a great chance to take all three points late on, the issue of automatic relegation is no longer possible thanks to the 1-1 draw at FC Ingolstadt. The media take a positive view of the Werkself response to going behind. However, it’s no surprise the scorer of the equaliser, Kai Havertz, is the focus of media attention.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Here’s what the papers say:

The Welt am Sonntag reports under the headline “Leverkusen thanks Havertz”: “Rudi Völler couldn’t stand it any more after eight minutes. Leverkusen’s sporting director left the stadium after a misplaced pass by Julian Baumgartlinger – too much for his nerves. ... Then came the shock in the second half: Sonny Kittel gave FCI the lead on 73 minutes – the slim chance of staying up was alive. But Kai Havertz equalised five minutes later with a headed goal. Kevin Volland then had the chance to score a winner for Bayer but the game ended in a draw.”

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung match report reads: “The best thing to say about Leverkusen before the break was they had started taking up the relegation battle challenge... Leverkusen turned the game and season stats round when they levelled the game between the team with the most goals conceded from set plays (23) against the team with the most goals scored from set pieces (21) at 1-1 from a free kick. Wendell’s cross was headed into the net by Havertz. And Kevin Volland had the opportunity to release Bayer from all thoughts of relegation when he rounded the keeper Martin Hansen on 82 minutes – only for Markus Suttner to clear the ball off the line.”

The Berlin-based Tagesspiegel focused on the Werkself goalscorer: “Teenager Havertz rescues a point for Leverkusen in Ingolstadt“. The match report continues: “All the Leverkusen players congratulated Kai Havertz. The 17-year-old school student, in the the middle of his A-levels, saved Bayer 04 from a precarious situation in the relegation battle with his second Bundesliga goal scored with a header from a corner. ‘For the goal, you could see he knows where to put the ball,” said sporting director Rudi Völler in praising the youngster’s skill in dealing with Wendell’s cross. ‘We showed we’re ready to take up the challenge of the relegation battle,’ declared Bayer coach Tayfun Korkut."

The analysis does not look much different in the online edition of the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger. “Bayer 04 Leverkusen had their backs to the wall in the relegation battle in the Bundesliga for the five minutes on Saturday. Sonny Kittel made it 1-0 for FC Ingolstadt on 75 minutes with direct rivals Wolfsburg and Augsburg leading in their away games. The downward spiral for the Werkself appeared to be continuing following the traumatic 4-1 defeat against Schalke... Kai Havertz (17) then scored the equaliser from a corner. That was met with huge relief by Bayer 04.”
There was no question about the Stadt Anzeiger man-of-the-match: “Kai Havertz, 17, was taking his Geography r A-level on Wednesday. He rescued his team with a headed goal to make it 1-1. He did the same in the 3-3 draw with VfL Wolfsburg earlier in the season. The phenomenon that is the early maturing young pro is well known. But nobody in Germany can equal the achievements of the man from Aachen. Kai Havertz is often described as one for the future at Leverkusen. It’s phenomenal the way he is influencing the present.” Under the heading “That was good”: “The Leverkusen resolve to fight and the response to going behind.”

The Cologne newspaper Express reports: “The youngster is the saviour for Bayer! Incredible! ‘It’s important to have players in a relegation battle who don’t think too much about pressure. That’s the case with Kai. He had a fine game and scored the header. That did us good,’ said Rudi Völler. The sporting director did not manage eight minutes in his seat. After Julian Baumgartlinger lost a challenge, he left his seat between Michael Schade and Jonas Boldt. ‘I noticed after a couple of minutes that I was swearing too much. That’s not good if the injured players in front of me pick it up,’ said Völler in explaining his departure.

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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