What the papers say: 'Taking chances the difference'

The media are almost unanimous in their assessment of the 2-1 defeat for the Werkself against league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach: The top team from the Lower Rhine benefited from their strength in finishing while Leverkusen were unable to exploit a large number of chances in an action-packed game.

"A masterpiece of preparation"



Lucas Alario's sensational pass for Kevin Volland's goal.

The headline in the online edition of the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger reads: 'Leverkusen fail again due to missed chances'. The report describes the three goals scored in the match: "The opening goal on 18 minutes was a gift from Leverkusen to Borussia. The left flank was uncovered so that two passes were enough to put Marcus Thuram through on the edge of the box. A dummy from the Frenchman left Wendell on the ground and he played a perfect pass leaving Oscar Wendt with a tap in from three yards out. The equaliser on 25 minutes was a masterpiece of preparation. Lucas Alario played the ball from the halfway line perfectly over the advanced defence, Kevin Volland sprinted into the space and rounded goalkeeper Sommer with the ball at his feet. On 42 minutes, the left side of the Bayer 04 defence was caught napping again. A Lainer dribble made two Leverkusen players (Wendell, Volland) look like schoolboys and he played the ball to the unmarked Herrman who set up Thuram to make it 2-1. The only reason the scoring stopped after that was: Leverkusen missed half a dozen good chances."

"Only one chance taken"

The Bild Zeitung saw it as follows: "Gladbach remain league leaders! The table-toppers beat Rhine rivals Leverkusen 2-1 to retain top spot. Albeit with kind-hearted support from the hosts: The Bayer full-backs slipped up with both goals conceded! Wendell (26), returned to the starting line-up by coach Peter Bosz (55) after recovering from a thigh injury, had a miserable first half. Gladbach twice made impressive but too easy moves down his left flank. Marcus Thuram (22) and Patrick Herrmann (28) only needed to square the ball and Oscar Wendt (34/18') and Thuram (25') to tap in as right back Mitchell Weiser (25) dozed off in the middle. (…) In addition to the individual errors, it was taking chances that made the difference on the day. Leverkusen only took one of the numerous goalscoring opportunities when a brilliant pass from Lucas Alario (27) to Kevin Volland left the visitors five-man defence stranded. The Leverkusen striker easily rounded the new dad Yann Sommer (30) – 1-1 (25')."

"Leverkusen win would have been deserved"

Karim Bellarabi foiled by Sommer in one of many chances to level at 2-2.

The verdict of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung: The 2-1 win at the end of an exciting dual, with goals from Wendt (18 minutes) and Thuram (42') with a reply from Volland (25'), was lucky as the team in tenth place had more chances than Borussia after the break. (…) The top quality of this meeting did not diminish at any time after the half-time break. Gladbach had a great chance to make it 3-1 through Neuhaus, one of the best Borussia players on the day, but Hradecky made his best save of the game (56'). Then Alario was tearing his hair out for a second time when he missed the next chance (50'). Finally, goalkeeper Sommer stood in the way of an equaliser for Bellarabi's solo effort (62'). With Leverkusen pressing hard for the equaliser at 2-2, the next chance also went begging when a header from Volland landed just wide of the left upright (70'). The profligacy with chances continued when substitute Bailey put the ball over the Gladbach bar (70'). A Leverkusen win would certainly have been deserved."

"Crazy exchange of blows

The Cologne-based Express reports: "What a crazy exchange of blows in front of 30,210 spectators at a sold-out Werkself Arena. It was end to end from the start. Bayer pressed, Borussia struck. And how: Thuram beat Wendell, a cross, Wendt, 1-0 to Gladbach. Bayer replied: A counter-attack after a breakdown in the Gladbach build-up, a pass to Volland breaking away, the striker put the ball in the back of the net, 1-1. The game was really lively now. Borussia came again: Herrmann beat Wendell, a cross, Thuram was there, 2-1. Bayer should have equalised just before half-time after another Ginter blackout but the unmarked Alario fluffed the chance. Unbelievable. Madness. Half-time. Chance for a breather. The action-packed derby continued after the break. Bayer pressed, had great chances (Bellarabi, Volland, Alario) but couldn't find the back of the net. Gladbach could (Herrmann) but his strike was ruled offside. Gladbach stood up to the Leverkusen assault to the end."

"Most pointless red card in a long time"


Repentant departure: Leon Bailey after his late dismissal.

The headline in the online edition of the Rheinische Post reads: "Bayer Leverkusen lose the 'little Rhine derby'". The RP reporter saw the second half as follows: "Leverkusen came out fighting for the second half but initially broke down too often in their forward play. The visitors did it better and the next big chance from Neuhaus was brilliantly saved by Lukas Hradecky (56'). There was not long to wait before a response from Alario but his shot flew wide, wide of Sommer's goal (58'), and four minutes later he prevented Volland equalising with his feet. The Werkself were determined to make it 2-2 but missed good chances from Karim Bellarabi (62'/68'), Volland (70') and Leon Bailey (78') – and also had to make sure they were not caught out by a counter-attack. Just before the final whistle, Leon Bailey was shown the most pointless red card in a long time after violent conduct against Herrmann. VAR showed the Jamaican had retaliated."

"Intensive and entertaining"

The conclusion in Kicker can be reduced to these two sentences: "Borussia Mönchengladbach beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 in an intensive and very entertaining match. Both teams played with great tempo for the duration of the game, however Gladbach were more clinical in front of goal and therefore remain top of the table."


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