The third Europa League group match takes the Werkself to Israel this week. In Petach Tikva – a suburb of Tel Aviv some 3,000 kilometres away from the BayArena as the crow flies – the team led by Peter Bosz play Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Thursday night, 5 November (kick-off: 18.55 CET). Bayer 04 return to Israeli soil for the first time in over 28 years – and for the first time in an official competitive match. But there are memories of Israel at Leverkusen.
In the summer of 1992, the Werkself held their training camp in Caesarea – between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the Israeli Mediterranean coast. As part of the Intertoto Cup, an unofficial international club competition, the Black and Reds first played Maccabi Netanya (1-0) and then Hapoel Petah Tikva three days later with that game ending in a surprise 3-2 defeat.
“In front of 1,000 enthusiastic spectators, several Leverkusen players made sure they did not suffer any unnecessary injuries against the highly motivated Israelis,” was in a newspaper report, dated 13 July 1992, which Rudi Vollborn brought out of the club archives this week. The Werkself player with the record number of appearances and Bayer 04 club archivist did travel to Israel but was unable to play due to an ankle injury.
The last fixture against an Israeli club was in October 2002 in the Champions League. The 2-0 away win against Maccabi Haifa, with Marko Babic netting both goals, was played on Cyprus due to the tense political situation in Israel at the time.
Gerd Müller played a crucial role for FC Bayern just as much as he did with Germany and, 38 years after the end of his playing career, he is still known and revered as the ‘Bomber of the nation’ all over the country. The central striker scored an impressive 68 goals in 62 internationals. On top of that, between 1964 and 1979 he clocked up an outstanding 365 goals in 427 Bundesliga matches including 40 in the 1971/72 season – still the record in the league as is his seven trophies for being Bundesliga top goalscorer.
Rudi Völler, sporting managing director at Bayer 04, still raves about the Bundesliga record goalscorer to this day: “I admired Gerd Müller in the 1970s. His goals helped win the World Cup for Germany when I was 14. He was an idol for me particularly as a striker. And although it’s difficult to compare players from different generations because all of them have their own particular time: For me, Gerd Müller is one of a kind and will also remain so.” The ‘Bomber of the nation’ is 75 years old today. Many happy returns from Bayer 04!
The latest edition of the Werks11 magazine – number 28 – has been posted out to Bayer 04 Club members. There is an in-depth interview with key defender Edmond Tapsoba covering his first months at Leverkusen plus his home country of Burkina Faso. In addition, summer signing Patrik Schick takes a closer look at his new home from an aerial perspective. The editors joined him at the Leverkusen Water Tower. Enjoy reading about the Black and Reds!
At bayer04.de, can also look back at all the previous Werks11 magazines from the first edition in 2015/16.
Dante led out Nice as captain at the BayArena two weeks ago in the 6-2 defeat against the Werkself. He suffered a blow last weekend: In the league game at SCO Angers (3-0), the Brazilian picked up a serious injury and had to be carried off. The bitter diagnosis: Torn cruciate and several months on the sidelines. The experienced player, playing on the Côte d’Azur since 2016 following on from time with Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg, will miss the return game against the Werkself on 3 December. Bayer 04 wish him a speedy recovery!
The quarter-final of the DFB-Pokal will be a special highlight for the Bayer 04 Women. The team will play at the BayArena for only the second time since 2009. Bayer04.de has collected reaction to the game to be played on Tuesday 5 March (kick-off: 18.30 CET). Director of professional teams Thomas Eichin, who is also responsible for women's football at the club, explains the background to the decision and the Women's team head coach Robert de Pauw and the captain Elisa Senß talk about the anticipation of the players ahead of the clash at the BayArena. Winter signing Borja Iglesias also shares his views. The striker was a big supporter of women's football following the kissing scandal involving the former Spanish FA president Luis Rubiales last summer. Borja also attended the last Bayer 04 Women's home game against TSG Hoffenheim.Show more
Odilon Kossounou certainly deserved this reception: At a Bayer 04 staff meeting, Fernando Carro, CEO, and head coach Xabi Alonso presented the Africa Cup of Nations winner with a special memento of his great achievement on behalf of all members of staff. The Werkself player won AFCON with Ivory Coast in the middle of February in his own country.Show more
The special edition Bayer Sports Family shirt pays homage to sport in the city of Leverkusen. Ahead of the forthcoming Bayer Sports Family matchday at the Werkself Bundesliga home game against Mainz 05 (Friday, 23 February, 20.30 CET), Bayer 04 Club members can secure this limited edition shirt now at the Bayer 04 fan shops and the online club shop.Show more
The Bayer 04 eSports team this week played matchdays 30 to 32 in the 2023/24 VBL Club Championship by WOW in the business end of the season. The #B04eSports team picked up six important points in the games against Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg and direct rivals Fortuna Düsseldorf. The Black and Reds remain seventh in the table in the North West Division and are still in with a chance of qualifying for the finals of the German Club Championship via the play-offs.Show more
There's big interest in Bayer 04 in Mexico, not least because of the involvement of former Werkself player Chicharito. The #Bayer04MexicoTour in summer 2022 also made a vital contribution to the popularity of the current Bundesliga leaders in the North American country. Since this week, the connection between Bayer 04 and football-mad Mexico has been enriched by one more aspect: Mexican national team coach Jaime Lozano and his coaching team have used their European tour to exchange experiences with those responsible at the works club, among other things.Show more