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1.02.2024Bayer 04

History: 45 years ago – Promotion season 1978/79 (February)

Leverkusen is white in February 1979. The snow is piled up as much as in January and the team under coach Willibert Kremer has not played a championship home game since 22 November.

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Match action returns on 16 February 1979. Wuppertaler SV, in danger of relegation, are the visitors at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium. The pitch is covered in snow and it is not a pretty encounter in front of 4,000 spectators. Although both teams make an effort on the frozen and bumpy surface. But a real game never gets going. Above all, tall players like Thomas Hörster, Jürgen Gelsdorf and Klaus Bruckmann have difficulty staying on their feet. The Werkself are unable to play their feared passing moves. On top of that, Wuppertal are very good in defence, giving away hardly any chances and they offer some threat up front. The game on that Friday night ends 0-0 which satisfies both teams.

Fortuna Köln visit the Ulrich Haberland Stadium four days later. In front of 7,000 spectators on another frozen pitch, the Werkself lose after 28 games without defeat across seasons. The Bayer 04 players have got used to the conditions of the pitch and show their best side. Matthias Brücken scores the richly deserved opener on 33 minutes and it all looks like a victory for the Werkself. But Roland Stegmayer levels for Fortuna before the break. The Cologne team improve in the second half. They draw the Werkself out and create chances. As everybody at the stadium is expecting a draw, Fortuna striker Stegmayer scores again on 89 minutes to make it 2-1 for the visitors. The coach of the Cologne team is Rudi Faßnacht who played for Bayer 04 in the 1950s and he tragically lost his life along with his wife on 25 July 2000 when Concorde crashed in Paris.

"This defeat does not set us back, we're going up and we have the plan," said club president Dr. Jürgen Schwericke after the game. And team captain Dieter Herzog is quoted as follows: "The 2-1 defeat against Fortuna Köln was mainly down to our silly mistakes. We could have suffered a defeat in some of the previous games. Now it's happened and we have sworn to carry on for a long time without losing. We are clearly looking forwards."

There are also further discussions on the football chairman Hermann Büchel who was written off sick. The Bayer 04 board drops the idea of bringing in a manager from outside and aims at an internal solution. Nobody under the Bayer Cross says anything but the departure of Hermann Büchel is just a question of time.

In the video you can see highlights of the goalless draw against Wuppertaler SV.

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