10.12.2019Champions League

‘We can only beat Juve playing as a team’

Coach Peter Bosz and the Werkself knows what has to be done. “It’s no good trying to work it out. The only thing that counts is winning the game,” declared the 56-year-old at the pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s final group match against Juventus (11 December, kick-off: 21.00 CET) at the BayArena.

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The situation appeared hopeless after the first three matches. Juventus led the group on seven points, Atletico were second also on seven points with Bayer 04 pointless. But the Werkself then won twice and Atletico did not pick up a single point. Bayer 04 were on the up and Atletico in decline. A psychological benefit for Bosz? “Unfortunately not. The fact is: We are still a point behind. And Atletico are at home to Loko Moscow. Loko have nothing to lose or win.”

Nevertheless, the Dutchman made it clear: Bayer 04 want to secure victory over the Old Lady to play their part in a possible miracle. If the Werkself win and Atletico fail to pick up any points then Leverkusen would be in the knockout rounds of the Champions League. The only other team to achieve that since the Champions League was introduced in 1992 was Newcastle United in 2002/03.

Smaller squad

It is now clear that Bosz will have to leave out two players from the squad for the 2-1 win against Schalke 04. The reason: The Champions League rules only allow an 18-man squad. “You’ll see the rest tomorrow,” said the Dutchman in response to the question about possible rotation. It is certain that Nadiem Amiri is suspended after being sent off in the home game against Atletico Madrid; Jonathan Tah returns to the squad in his place. His two-match ban only applies to the Bundesliga.

Havertz: ‘Gigi is a legend’

Playmaker Kai Havertz, who was also at the press conference, is looking forward to the clash with the Italian record champions – and playing against goalkeeping legend Gianluigi Buffon. The 20-year-old: “Gigi is a legend. For me, he was and is a great role model. Players like that are the face of football. Not least because he’s been around so long.”

‘Happy to be back on the pitch’

Havertz was asked about the transfers and he made his position clear. “I’m not interested it that at all. We’ve got important games coming up. The focus is completely on Leverkusen. I’ve been injured recently and I’m happy to be back on the pitch. That’s the most important thing for me now,” said the Germany international. Bosz is happy to have his number 29 back on the pitch. A win against Juventus is only possible with a solid team performance. The Werkself head coach said at the end: “We can only beat Juve playing as a team!”

Match info:
Referee: Benoît Bastien (France)
Live broadcaster: DAZN
Tickets: Bayer 04 expect a sell-out at the BayArena

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