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13.01.2018Bayer 04

Werkself draw 1-1 with Lotte

Less than 13 hours after the 3-1 defeat against record champions Bayern Munich in the opening league fixture in 2018, the Werkself drew 1-1 with Sportfreunde Lotte in a friendly. Charles Aránguiz scored the goal against the third division side who knocked Bayer 04 out of the DFB Cup on penalties last season.
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In spite of the draw against the lower league opposition, Heiko Herrlich was keen to praise his team. "I really appreciate our performance. It's not that easy to be fully focused on a friendly the day after the players were in a high state of excitement after the game against Bayern Munich – above all for those players who came on as substitutes yesterday. But my team played well," said the Bayer 04 head coach.

After the friendlies against Greuther Fürth (2-1) and Preußen Münster (2-2) last weekend and the Bayern game, Herrlich mainly gave players time on the pitch who did not play against the Munich side. While  the other members of yesterday's team went through recovery training at the BayArena,  Benjamin Henrichs, Lucas Alario and Admir Mehmedi were three players  in the starting eleven who came off the bench against the league leaders. "If you ignore yesterday's match then we're in the eleventh day of the mid-season break. I wanted to use the friendly to give players who haven't featured  much the chance to get match practice," declared the Bayer 04 head coach in explaining his unusual friendly line-up. "It meant the whole squad could go the full distance twice within twelve days. That was the point of it."

WOODWORK AND BAD LUCK

Captained by Stefan Kießling, the Werkself made the better start in front of 430 fans at the Ulrich Haberland Stadium. Just after the kick-off, the former Werkself shot-stopper in goal for Sportfruende, Benedikt Fernandez, was able to prevent the visitors going behind early on when he saved a shot from  Joel Pohjanpalo on three minutes. Instead, it was Lotte who opened the scoring on 20 minutes: After a perceived foul by Panos Retsos, referee Dr. Martin Thomsen awarded a penalty and Kevin Pires-Rodrigues gave Rambo Özcan no chance of making a save. The two teams went into half-time with the scores level at 1-1 after Aránguiz netted following a great one-two with Lucas Alario (41').

The second half developed into a race to score the next goal:  The Werkself had significantly more of the game and they succeeded in creating a number of clear-cut chances – Pohjanpalo was unlucky two minutes after the restart when his header hit the right-hand post. As the game progressed, with Herrlich bringing on two U19 players in Jakub Bednarczyk and Sam Schreck, the Werkself had more goalscoring opportunities. And the failure to convert was due , in part, to the display in goal from the Lotte keeper Fernandez. The game ended all square at 1-1. "We produced a professional performance right to the end and we dominated the game. Unfortunately, we didn't take our chances ," said Herrlich.

Bayer 04: Özcan (Lomb 46') – Frey, Jedvaj, Retsos, Henrichs (Bednarczyk 55') – Baumgartlinger, Aránguiz – Mehmedi (Schreck 78') – Pohjanpalo, Kießling, Alario

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