Alonso ahead of #B04SCP: “A luxury to be able to decide”

Following the weekend’s draw against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, the Werkself are again at home on Wednesday for the visit of Paderborn to the BayArena in the DFB-Pokal last 16 (kick-off: 18:00 CET). Ahead of the game, head coach Xavi Alonso made it abundantly clear that his team will in no way underestimate their Bundesliga 2 opponents.

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Bayer 04’s most recent encounter with Paderborn came in July as Alonso’s side were beaten 2-1 in a pre-season friendly. Things were very different ahead of that game in Velbert compared to this week’s cup tie. “The game has still taught us a few helpful lessons,” the boss said at his press conference on Tuesday.

“Need patience and control”

While Leverkusen have so far seen off opponents from lower leagues in the first two rounds, beating Teutonia Ottensen of the fourth tier and Sandhausen of the third division, Paderborn have claimed a 7-0 win at Energie Cottbus and stunned Bundesliga side Freiburg with a 3-1 away victory. “They played really well with and without the ball against Freiburg, showed a mature performance,” Alonso stated. “We can’t relax in this game but have to play with much more patience and control.”

The Spaniard is excited ahead of the round of 16 in a “special competition. The DFB-Pokal isn’t the easiest route to winning a title. There isn’t one. But it’s the shortest,” he added, once again calling for the great support of the fans. A total of 29,000 tickets have so far been sold for Wednesday’s game, with Bayer 04 expecting a sold-out home crowd. Around 2,300 fans are expected to come from Paderborn.

Kovar to play, Arthur still out

Alonso also confirmed at the press conference that Arthur suffered another injury in training on money. A precise diagnosis is still to be confirmed. All other players are available for the 42-year-old against Paderborn.

And while Alonso didn’t want to give any hints to his line-up when it comes to outfield players, he did confirm who his goalkeeper will be. “Matej Kovar will be in goal. It’s not a general decision but one for this game. It’s what we’ve always done so far.”

Talking about greater potential rotation, the coach stressed that every player is important: “I never talk about rotation but about the entire squad. So far, we’ve done things well. It’s a luxury to be able to decide.”

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