#WOBB04 review: After 743 days…

Paulinho's last Bundesliga goal was more than two years ago. The Brazilian scored two goals in six minutes in the 4-0 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt on 7 March 2020. He achieved the same haul in yesterday's away game at VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday 20 March – once again within exactly six minutes. That and more in the Werkself review…


With four changes to the starting eleven from the 1-0 defeat against Atalanta in the Europa League, head coach Gerardo Seoane again played with a back three. The first real threat from the Werkself came with a shot from Amine Adli (17’), and, for the other side, Maximilian Arnold almost caught out Lukas Hradecky with a tricky direct free kick (23’). Neither side was able to make headway so the two sides went into half-time with the score at 0-0.


For a long time it looked like the game was heading for a draw before Seoane made a smart substitution bringing on the matchwinner Paulinho on 81 minutes. The versatile attacker gained possession in his own half after Charles Aránguiz won the ball, then drove forward to the opposition box and surprised Pavao Pervan with his right-foot shot into the net at the near post (86'). In the four minutes of added time, Paulinho had another up his sleeve: From a perfectly timed Kerem Demirbay cross, he scored with a header in at the far post (90+2') - the Black and Reds went wild. HERE is the match report.


Goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was clearly relieved after the final whistle: "You can see how much we don't begrudge Paulinho all these goals! I'm incredibly happy his ketchup bottle has finally exploded!" Head coach Gerardo Seoane summed up the match as follows: "It was an evenly balanced game. We had the necessary luck on our side and we fought our way back into the game strongly with a few adjustments." After that a "difficult week" the victory did the team "a power of good."


You could see the relief in his sprint of jubilation to the bench and everybody was happy with the scorer of the brace Paulinho. Gerardo Seoane found words of praise for the 21-year-old who moved under the Bayer Cross from his native Brazil in the summer of 2018: "He has a lot of quality. We have encouraged him again and again to be ambitious with his finishing. But we didn't know anything about his strength in the air up to now." For Paulinho it was Bundesliga goals number four and five after the previously mentioned double against Frankfurt – he had to wait 743 days. Logically, fans voted him the Man of the Match on the new Bayer 04 app with 80% of the vote. Congratulations!


Amongst all the joy it must also be mentioned that playmaker Kerem Demirbay will be unavailable to the Werkself in the next league match. The 28-year-old was shown his tenth yellow card at Wolfsburg and therefore misses the next league game at home to Hertha Berlin (2 April).


Yes, the most important statistics for #WOBB04 are all very balanced. Possession was 50-50, VfL were slightly on top in terms of challenges and pass completion. In contrast, the Werkself had one more shot at goal (15-14). Nevertheless, Bayer 04 head back to the Rhineland with all three points and have further secured third place. Wolfsburg have slipped down to thirteenth in the table.


“Paulinho fires Bayer to victory” (Rheinische Post), "Leverkusen's unexpected hero" (Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger), "Substitute Paulinho secures Bayer's win" (Kölnische Rundschau), "Paulinho breaks the deadlock" (kicker) - The headlines in the sports papers all focus on the Werkself matchwinner. The latter specialist football journal awards top marks to Paulinho and the performances by Kerem Demirbay and right back Odilon Kossounou are also rated as positive. Paulinho and Kossounou are all included in the kicker team of the matchday.




Twelve Werkself players headed off to join their national teams straight after the win in Wolfsburg – the next international break is round the corner. That will be followed on Bundesliga matchday 28 by the visit to Leverkusen of Hertha Berlin under the new head coach Felix Magath. The kick-off at the BayArena on Saturday 2 April is at 15.30 CET.

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