What the papers say: 'The Champions League beckons'

The media are unanimous in their assessment of the 2-1 win for the Werkself in the derby: A deserved win for an ambitious team.

The Sonntags Express primarily focuses on the consequences of the derby defeat for FC Köln: "Köln's misery in the league continues. The uplifting DFB Cup win at Hertha BSC was followed three days later by a severe setback in the derby. Leverkusen have heightened the air of crisis at FC Köln. The situation grows ever harder after the 2-1 defeat. However, there is a ray of hope: Last season, Hamburg only had two points after ten games but managed to stay up. Stöger: "If HSV can do it then we can too. I don't mean to be negative towards them. However: They are tried and tested in such situations." (…) The whirlwind from Jamaica, Leon Bailey, made his mark on the game. The 'reggae boy' was involved in every dangerous move and his reward for an impressive performance first came with the important leveller. "I'm happy I scored in the derby. It's a really special feeling," said Bailey."

 Bild am Sonntag first looks at the statistics to describe the situation the team from Cologne are in: "FC Köln have never been so bad! One stat must scare the Köln fans after the 2-1 defeat at Leverkusen: There is an 80 per cent chance of relegation. (…) It's different for Leverkusen: Heiko Herrlich's team are now unbeaten in the last six games. And the Champions League beckons. They are now just three points behind fourth position.

In the analysis of the derby in their online version, the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger sums up the game as follows: "A fair result in a game between two very different teams. FC Köln did not play like a bottom-of-the-table side, and Bayer 04 not like a team who didn't win a single game for months in the summer. A great afternoon for football with a perfect setting. Colourful choreography, loud singing. However, FC Köln were unable to enjoy that as the problems grow ever larger."

The Rheinische Post (online edition) looks at the state of the supporters after the Rhine derby: "The derby is always seen as a test of strength between the two camps of fans. Negative tones from the North Stand were countered by the 6,000 visiting fans with the melodic prediction that Bayer 04 would 'never be German champions'. In answer to the question of who is the real master of the Rhine will still provoke vigorous discussion in a hundred years.”

Welt am Sonntag observed how much the Werkself improved in the second half: "After a poor start to the season, the recently recovered Leverkusen side upped their performance, increased the tempo and created chances. Horn made a great save from Julian Brandt. At the other end, substitute Tim Handwerker was kept out by the alerts Leno. But Bayer put in greater effort than the team from Cologne. Sven Bender's overhead goal to make it 2-1 on 73 minutes was deserved."

And the Kicker (online) identified the Leverkusen attitude after the break as decisive: "Herrlich made two changes for the restart, bringing on Henrichs and Alario in place of Retsos and Havertz. (…) The first effort on goal after the break was a volley from Volland (51') who soon went on to provide an assist: After a pass from Aranguiz, Alario and Volland went down the centre before picking out Bailey. The wizard on the wing rounded the keeper Horn and tucked the ball away to make it 1-1 on 55 minutes. The Werkself game now has more depth."



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