18.02.2021Europa League

Werkself lose 4-3 to YB in game of two halves

This evening at the legendary Wankdorf Stadium provided plenty of entertainment for the neutral football fan: The Werkself were 3-0 down at half-time against Young Boys Bern in the first leg of the knockout round tie, but they fought back impressively after the restart. In less than 20 minutes, a brace from Patrik Schick (49', 52') and a lob from Moussa Diaby (68') but Bayer 04 level at 3-3. However, the visitor's conceded another goal late on. Despite the 4-3 defeat, the situation for the return match is promising.

"We were very poor in the first half. It was somewhat better after half-time," said head coach Peter Bosz in his short and sharp assessment of his team just after the final whistle.

The 57-year-old made seven changes to the side that started in the 2-2 draw against FSV Mainz 05: Only the captain Jonathan Tah, Kerem Demirbay, Florian Wirtz and Leon Bailey started again. Niklas Lomb replaced Lukas Hradecky in goal as the number one goalkeeper was sidelined with a heel problem. U19 goalie Marcel Johnen was the reserve keeper on the bench.

Clearly behind at half-time

Hardly had the first leg started at the legendary Wankdorf Stadium, where Germany won the World Cup for the first time in 1954, than the Werkself were hit by an early setback. Just three minutes into the game, a corner from Michel Aebischer found Christian Fassnacht in the penalty area and the Young Boys right-winger volleyed the ball into the Leverkusen net to make it 1-0. Lomb stood no chance. The goal conceded appeared to act as a wake-up call for the visitors from Leverkusen. First, Demarai Gray , making his first start for Bayer 04, tried a long-range effort (11') and that was followed by one from Bailey (13'). However, both shots from distance ended up in the arms of the Bern keeper David von Ballmoos.


The next move was made by the hosts – and again they were successful. This time, Aebischer took a corner on the left and he found striker Jordan Siebatcheu in the centre. The Frenchman asserted his physical presence and headed the Young Boys into an early 2-0 lead (19'). And, after the second goal of the evening, it was the hosts who are dominating the game. They stuck to their task, passed again and again at high pace right up to the Werkself penalty area.

In the final quarter an hour of the first half at the Wankdorf Stadium, Tah and Co. did claw back some the ground in the possession stats but were still unable to pose a threat to the opposition goal. It was different at the other end: Just before the whistle for half-time, Meschack Elia exploited an individual mistaken in the Bayer 04 defence and increased the lead to 3-0 (44'). A few seconds after the third goal on the night, Peter Bosz and his players left the pitch and gathered in the dressing room to go over the first 45 minutes to draw the right conclusions.

Schick's brace with his head

Bosz decided to change his system for the second half, opting for a back three instead of a back four. That meant that Edmond Tapsoba came on for Nadiem Amiri. And with the new formation plus regained mentality the Werkself quickly hit back: First, Patrik Schick scored with a header from a Jeremie Frimpong cross (49') and then nodded in a second goal from a Demirbay free kick (52'). Bayer 04 were back and now dominating the game.




Diaby levels – YB hit late winner

The provider Frimpong missed the chance to level on 63 minutes when he was unable to control the ball in the opposition box. Bosz wanted more during this period of pressure so he brought on Moussa Diaby in place of Bailey (65’). Grey had the best chance after the brace from Schick: The Englishman raced down on the YB keeper von Ballmoos but from the left of the goal he put his shot wide of the right-hand post from six yards out (67'). What the winter signing was unable to do, was successfully completed by substitute Diaby two minutes later. The Frenchman ran onto a long ball from Wirtz, remained cool and lobbed the ball over von Ballmoos to level at 3-3.

It looked like the first European game for the Werkself in 2021 was going to end in a draw. However, Young Boys struck again just before the final whistle: Siebatcheu scored his second goal of the night to give the Swiss serial champions a narrow 4-3 win in the first leg of the Round of 32 tie.

First Augsburg, then Bern

Bosz and Co. will not have much time to process the spectacular match in Bern. Bayer 04 are away to FC Augsburg on Sunday afternoon, 20 February (kick-off: 13.30 CET). Next Thursday brings the showdown with the Young Boys at the BayArena. The return match kicks off at 21.00 CET.

Match stats:

BSC Young Boys: von Ballmoos – Hefti, Lustenberger, Zesiger, Lefort (Sulejmani 74') – Fassnacht (Gaudino 80'), Aebischer, Lauper (Rieder 80’), Moumi Ngamaleu (Garcia 58’) – Elia (Mambimbi 74’), Siebatcheu

Bayer 04: Lomb – Frimpong, Tah, Dragovic, Sinkgraven – Wirtz, Demirbay, Amiri (Tapsoba 46') – Bailey (Diaby 65'), Schick, Gray

Goals: 1-0 Fassnacht (3’), 2-0 Siebatcheu (19’), 3-0 Elia (44’), 3-1, 3-2 Schick (49’, 52’), 3-3 Diaby (68’), 4-3 Siebatcheu (89’)

Booked: Lefort – Sinkgraven

Referee: Antonio Matéu Lahoz (Spain)

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