The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reports: "Peter Bosz felt warm all over in the Russian fridge. Being in Europe after the winter break brought a smile to the face of the Bayer Leverkusen coach. 2-0 at Lokomotiv Moscow, the head-to-head turned round, qualification for the Europa League knockout rounds in the bag – the tough battle for the Werkself in temperatures of minus 8 degree proved to be worth it. With the second win on Champions League matchday five, Bayer 04 cannot finish lower than third place in Group D. In Champions League match number 100 for the Werkself, the lead came through an own goal from Lokomotiv Moscow's Rifat Zhemaletdinov (11') – three of Leverkusen's goals to date this term have been scored by the opposition. Sven Bender (54') netted the important second goal for the highly committed visitors with a brilliant volley."
In the individual assessments, Sven Bender ("Solid as concrete in defence and deft with the second goal. Another great game for the defender") and Lukas Hradecky ("Fantastic save on 26 minutes to deny Anton Miranchuk. Thereby erasing the blunder in the home game.") received top marks.
The headline in the Bild Zeitung sums up the hopes the Werkself in perhaps being able to spring a really big surprise on the final matchday in the Champions League: "Own goal madness & Bender rocket: Bayer's dream of a miracle!" The tabloid also looks at the incredible run of own goals in favour of Leverkusen: "The match action after eleven minutes: Lokomotiv's Portuguese player Eder attempts to clear in his own penalty area, hits his team-mate Zhemaletdinov and the ball bounces off his leg into the net to make it 1-0. The own goal madness: Three of the last five Leverkusen goals in the Champions League were own goals (from Lokomotiv's Höwedes and Atlético's Partey). Just this season, Leverkusen opponents have netted seven home goals (three each in the Champions League and the Bundesliga plus one in the DFB Cup). Coach Peter Bosz (56) has kept his promise ('We'll force six to seven own goals')."
Sporting director Simon Rolfes was quoted on the possibility of progressing in the Champions League after losing three games in succession at the start: "I don't know whether our chances are at four or five per cent. Atlético are favourites in the home game against Lokomotiv but there are always crazy stories in football. Even if the situation is as it is – it's important for us to produce a fantastic performance against Juve. We beat Atlético at home and we can also beat Juve at home."
The Rheinische Post focuses on the off the pitch events: "The people responsible for marketing at Lokomotiv Moscow came up with something special for the clash with Bayer Leverkusen. In front of the RZD Arena, there was a 'German market' for the fans – with goulash, sausages, cabbage stew, pretzels and Glühwein. In addition, there was a brass band. The Werkself players probably didn't catch much of the folklore activity. Their job was to beat the team from the Russian capital by more than 2-1 to make up for the 2-1 defeat on matchday one and to secure third place in Group D that would guarantee being in a European competition after the winter break. With success: The match in the Moscow icebox was won 2-0 by the visitors. A win against Juventus in the final game would be enough to reach the Round of 16 if Atlético Madrid slip up against Lokomotiv Moscow."
The Kicker praises the scorer of the second goal: “Thanks to Bender: Bayer are in Europe." The report continues: "The moment the ball was released, Bender, who was ready to pounce, moved forward and skilfully hit the chipped pass from Charles Aránguiz into the top right corner. ‘The ball was hanging in the air – I just hit it,' said the defender, actually in the side to prevent goals being scored.'Fantastic goal,' said sporting director Simon Rolfes.' Sometimes it happens that defenders don't take time to think but just hit the ball instead.'"
The Werkself host Paderborn in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 today, Wednesday 6 December (18:00 CET) at the BayArena. Here’s all the latest information ahead of the cup clash with the Bundesliga 2 club.Show more
The Bundesliga has announced its nominees for November’s Player of the Month, with two Werkself players up for the award in Alejandro Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong. Fans can now vote for who they want to win.Show more
Next year marks Bayer 04’s 120th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, we would like to take the opportunity, today and in the next few months, to regularly look at football under the Cross on bayer04.de and primarily delve into the question of: How have we become the club we are today? Part two of our series looks at our fans. Werkself supporters are enjoying this season like never before, providing incredible support both home and away.Show more
The Bundesliga has named the three nominees for November’s Rookie of the Month award. Werkself striker Victor Boniface, who has won the trophy in August, September and October, is once again up for the award. Fans have the chance to pick the winner by casting their votes online.Show more