1.10.2023Bayer 04

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

The first game in October takes Bayer 04 to the steel town of Solingen. Union Solingen entertain our Werkself at the Herman Löns Stadium in front of 12,000 supporters on Sunday 8 October 1978. The league leaders arrive in confident mood – and go home with a black eye.

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After just four minutes, goal getter Matthias Brücken finds the back of the net and the thousands of fans who travelled to support their team in Solingen can celebrate. Amazingly the lead does not settle the Werkself down. The midfield of Thomas Hörster, Klaus Bruckmann und Norbert Ziegler can't show their strengths. And as the sweeper Jürgen Gelsdorf, who is constantly booed by the Solingen fans after an unnecessary foul, loses his rhythm with a number of misplaced passes, the Bayer 04 game falters. Only Solingen create chances and they manage to equalise before half-time in spite of an outstanding performance by the keeper Fred Bockholt. The Union players tire after an hour but Bayer 04 are unable to pick themselves up again. Both sides end up satisfied with a 1-1 draw.

Fourth-placed Rot-Weiss Essen visit Leverkusen five days later. It's a Friday night, 19.30 and the Ulrich Haberland Stadium is a hubub of excitement. 15,000 spectators want recompense for the poor game against Union Solingen and they are rewarded. The Werkself besiege the Essen goal from the start and take the lead through Peter Szech on 19 minutes. As the Essen player Bartel is rightly sent off for a bad foul on the goalscorer two minutes later, the margin of victory is the only question for Bayer 04. The Werkself score three more goals in the second half. Midfielder Klaus Bruckmann with two and an own goal extend the lead the final score of 4-0. Slowly the last doubter is dreaming of promotion.

Fred Bockholt

The next opponents are relegation candidates Rot-Weiß Lüdenscheid. 5,000 spectators are at the Nattenberg Stadium,with the league leaders again supported by several hundred Bayer 04 fans, and they end up going home disappointed. The performance of a potential promotion club is below par and coach Willibert Kremer rages after the game: "Almost all my players lacked get-up-and-go and showed little ambition. The team had forgotten their main strength of pace." Nevertheless, it is enough to secure a 3-1 win against an uncertain opponent and that is above all down to goalkeeper Fred Bockholt and the two solid defenders Walter Posner and Peter Klimke. After two goals from Hans-Jürgen Scheinert and Peter Szech for the half-time lead of 2-0, the second half sees the Sauerland team create several chances. The result is finally sealed with the third goal from Leverkusen scored by Matthias Brücken on 80 minutes. Lüdenscheid score just before the final whistle but Bayer 04 remain unbeaten am top of the table with 23 points.

A win in the home game against Hannover 96 is required for a perfect October in 1978. The team from Lower Saxony are ninth in the table with 12 points just two above the relegation zone. 10,000 fans come to the stadium on that Saturday and want to see the twelfth win of the season. The Werkself do not disappoint their fans. Dieter Herzog, the captain out injured for a long time, is back again and that gives his team confidence and a sense of security. Bayer 04 lead 2-0 after 11 minutes thanks an own goal and a strike from Norbert Ziegler. The game is on edge for half an hour as the midfield with Klaus Bruckmann, Harry Gniech, Thomas Hörster and Norbert Ziegler overrun the opponents with the favoured high tempo game that has proved so successful. The big chances are not converted so the scoreline remained 2-0 at half-time. Only when the Werkself ease the tempo after the restart do Hannover have goalscoring opportunities and they pull one back on 63 minutes. The game becomes ever more hectic in the last 30 minutes but the league leaders manage to avoid conceding again. With the twelfth win in 13 games, Bayer 04 extend the lead at the top of the table and now have 25 points, a goal difference of plus 30 and are seven points ahead of second-placed Bayer 05 Uerdingen. The Werkself fans look forward to November with the two away games at third-placed Preußen Münster and against the direct rivals from Krefeld.


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