The Werkself were unlucky at the start of the knockout tie as Lukas Hradecky had to pick the ball out of the net after four minutes: The Finn pulled off a brilliant reflex save to keep out a header from Philipp Hofmann but Lucas Cueto reacted instantly to hit the rebound into the net to give KSC the lead. The Black and Reds did not take long to respond but there was a lack of accuracy in finishing – Moussa Diaby (10') and Amine Adli (12') both missed the chance to level by inches. The equaliser for Bayer 04 finally came on 54 minutes: Jeremie Frimpong played a great one-two with Adli in the penalty area before hitting his shot into the top left corner from the right side of the box – the equaliser!
The Black and Reds then missed the opportunity to make the most of their chances. Too many mistakes in the final third frustrated some promising chances to score. The visitors were more efficient – and they retook the lead with their next shot on goal: Hradecky played the ball to the feet of the KSC striker Kyoung-Rok Choi who scored to make it 2-1 for the visitors (64'). That was the final score in the game as the Seoane team were unable to increase their tally in spite of great attacking efforts up to the final whistle with Adli (77') and Iker Bravo (78') missing two good openings. HERE is the match report.
"We are all disappointed and this exit hurts. Now we have to get stuck in and it's clear: We carry on," declared Lukas Hradecky after the game. The 32-year-old felt responsible for the defeat with his mistake that led to the 2-1 scoreline. The coach and teammates backed the keeper and he received vocal support from the fans at the BayArena after the final whistle: "Lukas doesn't have to blame himself. Anybody can make a mistake. He's shown often enough that he's an incredibly important player for us – as captain and as a leader," declared defender Jonathan Tah.
And Gerardo Seoane reinforced that at the post-match press conference: "Lukas has already saved us lots of points. With goalkeepers mistakes are mostly punished by the conceding of a goal. Despite that, we win together and we lose together." Overall, the Werkself lacked efficiency and determination in front of goal added the Swiss coach. "We'll go through that in detail. Then it's a case of picking ourselves up and focusing on Saturday's Bundesliga match against VfL Wolfsburg."
As much as the DFB Cup exit hurts: The 2-1 defeat against KSC also includes two great stories from a Bayer 04 perspective. First up is Iker Bravo. The 16-year-old striker who joined the the Werkself from the Barcelona academy in the summer was in the Werkself squad for the first time started on the bench. However, on 77 minutes the Spaniard entered the club's record books when his shirt number lit up in green on the scoreboard. His job was to operate in the box. He did that well," said coach Gerardo Seoane in praise of the youngster who becomes the youngest player to make an appearance for Bayer 04 (16 years, 9 months, 15 days).
The second story on this cup night involves Jeremie Frimpong. The 20-year-old, who has been an excellent provider (five assists) in the Bundesliga and the Europa League, demonstrated his ability to finish against KSC. The Netherlands U21 international only hit the bar in Sunday’s derby in Cologne but he scored his first goal in in a black and red shirt at home three days later.
Sometimes you need a bit of luck in football. Unfortunately that was missing. A look at the statistics makes it clear how annoying this defeat was in the end. The Werkself were superior in nearly all areas with the team from Baden only slightly ahead in challenges won (54%). Amine Adli and Co. had 19 shots at the goal of KSC keeper Marius Gersbeck and the Frenchman had the most shots on goal (five) of the Black and Red players. The away team under coach Christian Eichner had a total of eight shots on goal. Bayer 04 had a greater share of the game than the second division side and were the more dominant team. Possession (60% the Leverkusen) plus the corners ratio (10 to 5) make it clear – and again support Seoane's analysis ("We weren't sufficient and decisive enough").
"KSC exploit every momentum," is the headline in the kicker as their match analysis testifies to the Karlsruhers’ "ability to bounce back after the equaliser" and a "overall courageous performance." The football journal picked up on what KSC head coach Christian Eichner said at the post-match press conference: "All the ingredients you need for a shock were there."
The performance of defender Jeremie Frimpong attracted appropriate praise. The Dutchman was definitely amongst the best Leverkusen players on the pitch. "After the restart, he was involved in nearly all of the Werkself attacking moves," writes the Rheinische Post. The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger says the 20-year-old made a "good run and finish" for his goal to make it 1-1.
October is really busy. Therefore, it's a case for Bayer 04 of quickly ticking off this defeat and preparing as best as possible for the next Bundesliga match. The team under head coach Gerardo Seoane entertain VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, 30 October (kick-off: 15.30 CEST). The Wolves were the first club to part company with their coach in the current Bundesliga campaign on Sunday: Mark van Bommel had to go. He has now been replaced by Florian Kohfeldt who will be in charge of the Lower Saxony team for the first time at the BayArena.
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The final international break of 2023 is over and now Bayer 04 start a busy run of fixtures up to the winter break. The first of eight games across all competitions before Christmas is today’s away fixture at Werder Bremen (kick-off: 15.30 CET). The latest updates on the game at the Weserstadion.Show more