15.03.2017Champions League

#AtletiB04 – Countdown to kick-off

Relaxed and yet completely focused – that was the Werkself in the hours in the run-up to the Round of 16 showdown at Atlético Madrid.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Head coach Tayfun Korkut held a one-hour training session in the morning for his team at the Real Madrid training ground to go through final details for the second leg match at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. The mission is clear: The Werkself are looking to be the first team in the 24-year history of the Champions League to come back from a two-goal deficit away from home.

And anyone who saw the Bayer 04 players in the Madrid sunshine will have noticed that the team can hardly wait to get their chance tonight. To make amends for what happened at the BayArena three weeks ago and perhaps also for the game at the Calderon Stadium almost two years ago. Back then, Bayer 04 lost out to Atlético in the most deflating manner – on penalties.

Quintet still here

Tayfun Korkut has five players from the 2015 squad available for selection. IBernd Leno, Roberto Hilbert, Wendell and Karim Bellarabi join Julian Brandt who was on the bench two years ago. Ömer Toprak, Lars Bender, Hakan Calhanoglu and Stefan Kießling, who also played for Bayer 04 at Atlético, are sidelined on this occasion.

New haircut

Apropos 2015: Atlético did make it to the quarter-finals only to be beaten by local rivals Real Madrid. And who was responsible for that? Chicharito. The Mexican was playing for Real at the time and he scored the golden goal after a 0-0 scoreline at Atlético. Chicharito has a new haircut for his reunion with the team coached by Diego Simeone – even if it wasn't completely voluntary. Following a lost bet at the Super Bowl he was forced to have his hair cut as short as possible.

Fans on the road

1,200 Werkself fans have made their way to the Spanish capital and they were certainly in evidence. Black and red was to be seen along the Manzanares – at famous sites and in bars and cafés. We followed a group this morning and try to find out what's the fascination about the Estadio Vicente Calderon. Erik said: "The Calderon is a cult venue and before it's torn down we definitely want to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere here once again."

The Calderon: Legend and fortress

If the Werkself should actually achieve the miracle and beat Atlético then Bayer 04 would be the last team to play at the Calderon in the Champions League. The Rojiblancos have decided to move to the east of the city at the end of the season and this revered temple of football will be demolished in the summer. For Simeone's team, the Calderon has always been a fortress with only one defeat in the last 20 games in Europe's premier club competition.

Live on ZDF

"Every second counts" from 20.45 CET as Tayfun Korkut declared. For all fans unable to be in Madrid: Both ZDF (free TV) and Sky (pay TV) are broadcasting the match live tonight. There is huge media interest with over 492 members of the press accredited. All Bayer 04 fans can also follow the Live app with information and stories about the game from two hours before kick-off. Under the hashtag #AtletiB04 there is everything you need to know on the social channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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