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4.12.2020Europa League

What the papers say: ‘Bayer's express train races through to next round'

This Europa League night had everything: The press report a "cracker" with "excellent" passes and goals but also "trouble with the ref." The journalists are agreed that the Werkself fully deserved to go through to the next round after the 3-2 win at Nice.
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The Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger headline reads: "Bayer storm into the knockout rounds." The report continues: "Bayer 04 were in the mood for a win – and a cracker as in the first game against Nice." The journal dug up an historic fact: The starting eleven head coach Peter Bosz fielded on the Côte d'Azur, with the oldest in the club's history in this competition.

The highest marks went to Aleksandar Dragovic, Nadiem Amiri and Moussa Diaby.

Werkself "hungry for goals"

The Kölnische Rundschau declared the Black and Reds were "hungry for goals", which is confirmed by the fact the Werkself have scored the most goals (17) of all the teams in the Europa League after five out of six group matches. Commenting on the opening stages: "Leverkusen grabbed hold of the game and pressed for an early lead. […] The hosts were hardly involved in the match. Kerem Demirbay set up Diaby's opener with an impressive chipped pass."

"To dispel all doubts about progressing to the next round, Peter Bosz opted for an experienced team in this away game," was the start of the match report in the Rheinische Post. The Werkself were 2-1 up at half-time, which the paper describes as deserved "due to control of the game and the better chances."

Final to win the group

The headline in the Bild reads: "Despite trouble with the ref! Bayer express train races through to next round." With the headline, the newspaper addresses the top performances of selected Werkself players. The explanation: "Express train because the outstanding Demirbay set up the opening goal with a world-class pass, which the Frenchman Moussa Diaby (22') converted with a volley – a magical goal. Express train because Aleksandar Dragovic smashed in a volley from an Amiri corner to make it 2-1 (32')."

In the view of the tabloid, the Werkself could have scored more goals. A follow-up explains: "Just annoying that the Italian ref Maurizio Mariani denied a clear penalty (foul on Diaby/5') and a goal from Schick (not offside/24'). VAR is only available in the Europa League from the knockout rounds. But Leverkusen are now through…"

With twelve points, Slavia Prague are now also through to the knockout rounds. The two teams meet at the BayArena next Thursday 10 December (kick-off: 18.55 CET) "in the final to win the group."

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