What the papers say: 'Struggle on absurd surface'

Gökhan Gökce is right in one respect. “Any professional team can slip up in the first round,” said Pforzheim’s coach ahead of the DFB Cup tie against the Werkself. While his team lost 1-0 to Bayer 04, despite a brave display at the Holzhof Stadium, two Bundesliga teams fell at the first hurdle: Holders Eintracht Frankfurt lost 2-1 away to Regional League side SSV Ulm and VfB Stuttgart went out in a 2-0 reverse at third division Hansa Rostock. Like Bayer 04, Bayern Munich (1-0 at Regional League club SV Drochtersen/Assel) and VfL Wolfsburg (1-0 at Regional League side SV Elversberg) just managed to overcome stiff resistance against underdogs. Read on to discover what the papers say about Leverkusen’s opening game of the season:

The Welt am Sonntag headline reads: ‘Leverkusen scrape to victory’ and the report states: “Leverkusen made hard work of it, particularly in attack. Lucas Alario converted a penalty on 26 minutes to open the scoring but Heiko Herrlich’s team then failed to extend their lead. Again and again, the Werkself floundered on Pforzheim’s defence, their own inability and the bar.”

The Bild am Sonntag quotes the Bayer 04 coach Heiko Herrlich: “I’m glad we’ve overcome this hurdle. We made it very difficult for ourselves.”

The online edition of the Kölner Stadt Anzeiger describes the incident leading to the injury to Julian Baumgartlinger: “Baumgartlinger carelessly lost possession in the opposition half. In his attempt to stop a counter-attack and make amends for his own mistake, the Austrian got his feet caught up on an absurd surface for a DFB fixture and he twisted his left knee. Baumgartlinger, who was full of ambition for the new campaign after an excellent pre-season, was carried off on a stretcher.”

The football analysis in the Stadt Anzeiger reads: “Bayer 04 found it hard going both on a terrible playing surface and against an aggressive and defensive opponent. Due to more chances and 80 per cent possession, Leverkusen did earn the win.” Goalkeeper Ramazan Özcan was named the Bayer 04 man of the match: “He stopped the Werkself going behind with an impressive save (23’) and prevented an equaliser (90’) and he was also always alert. Luck was on his side when Dominik Salz hit the outside of the post (73’).”

The online assessment of the Rheinische Post reads: “Bayer struggled against the defence of the rank outsiders. The difference in leagues was evident in the opening stages with 95 per cent of the action taking place in the Pforzheim half.”

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