Peter Bosz included two new signings in the first game of the new campaign: Kerem Demirbay and Nadiem Amiri, both signed from Hoffenheim, were in the starting line-up. Rambo Özcan replaced Lukas Hradecky due to illness and the Werkself were also unable to call on Joel Pohjanpalo, Lars Bender, Mitchell Weiser and Tin Jedvaj for the cup tie in Aachen. The Bayer 04 head coach opted for a 3-4-3 formation with Kai Havertz and Amiri alongside captain Kevin Volland up front. Karim Bellarabi and Wendell played on the wings. The Leverkusen bench had eight outfield players plus a keeper – the DFB Cup allows all teams to have more substitutes than is the case in the league.
The Tivoli was sold out and there was a nerve tingling cup atmosphere in the air. The hosts made a bold start and tried to disrupt the Leverkusen game with aggression. Two long-range efforts from striker David Bors – that both clearly missed the target – demonstrated the confidence of the Alemannia team (2'/10'). The Werkself endeavoured to be accurate but again and again were disrupted by tough tackling from an Aachen team taking an uncompromising approach to the match. The first notable move by Bayer 04 was made by Kai Havertz who shot from the edge of the box but his strike went wide of the target (16').
It was Aachen who provided the opening goal and the first strike for Leverkusen in the new season: Wendell put in a low cross from the left and the Alemannia captain Hackenberg unluckily turned the ball into his own net (19'). That produced an exuberant mood and lots of singing from the 4,000 travelling Bayer 04 fans. Amiri tried to curl a shot into the far corner but an Aachen player threw his body in the way to block a promising effort (32'). The Werkself clearly had more of the game but the fourth division side remained a difficult and obstinate opponent.
The Werkself remained calm and were able to double their advantage before the break. Demirbay put Volland through in the box and he hit a left-foot shot into the net at the near post to make it 2-0 on 39 minutes. Shortly after that, a Werkself counter-attack ended with a shot from Karim Bellarabi that went just past the post (42'). Bayer 04 went into half-time with a 2-0 lead thanks to a very controlled and effective display.
Leverkusen started the second half with the same eleven players. A cross from Wendell found Havertz but his shot was saved by the keeper Ricco Cymer with his feet to prevent third goal on 50 minutes. At the other end, the completely untroubled Özcan was called into action to save a free kick from Batarilo that was dipping under the bar (52'). Then the Bayer 04 shot-stopper was left helpless: An Aachen counter-attack saw Batarilo receive the ball unmarked in front of the goal and he was able to turn his shot into the net to make it 2-1 on 56 minutes.
Suddenly there was a game on again. It was extremely annoying for Bayer 04 that a clear foul by Alexander Heinze on Havertz did not result in a penalty on the hour mark. The next impressive contribution from Havertz ten minutes later saw him shake off a tackle in the Aachen box and then unleash a shot towards the left side of the goal but Cymer was able to make the save. Peter Bosz then made a double substitution bringing on Julian Baumgartlinger and Leon Bailey for Aránguiz and Bellarabi (72'). The move immediately paid off: Sven Bender picked out Bailey and he cut inside to beat the onrushing Cymer from the edge of the box to make it 3-1 seconds after coming on.
Moussa Diaby was the next new signing to make an appearance when he replaced Amiri on 80 minutes. Sven Bender had to receive treatment when he collided with in Aachen player at a corner (85'). Then Robin Garnier had a shot on goal but Özcan made a brilliant save to turn the ball round the post with his fingertips (87'). In turn it was an Aachener who finally settled matters: A Werkself counter-attack ended with a pass from Diaby to Havertz, born and brought up in the city of Aachen, and he raced away to fire in a shot to make it 4-1 for the Werkself (88').
Bayer 04 kick-off the new Bundesliga campaign next Saturday, 17 August, at 15.30 CET. Newly promoted SC Paderborn are the visitors to the BayArena.
Alemannia Aachen: Cymer – Fiedler (Glowacz 81'), Heinze, Hackenberg, Wallenborn (Salata 69') – Rakk (Pütz 83') – Müller, Batarilo, Garnier, Rüter – Bors
Bayer 04: Özcan – Dragovic, S. Bender, Tah – Bellarabi (Bailey 72'), Aránguiz (Baumgartlinger 72'), Demirbay, Wendell – Havertz, Volland, Amiri (Diaby 80')
Goals: 0-1 Hackenberg o.g. (19’), 0-2 Volland (39’), 1-2 Batarilo (56’), 1-3 Bailey (72’), 1-4 Havertz (88’)
Referee: Petersen (Stuttgart)
Attendance: 30,861 (sell-out)
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