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4.12.2023Bundesliga

The Werkself review #B04BVB: Hard work, deserved reward

The Werkself remain unbeaten after the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 13. The one-sided game demanded a lot of strength of nerve and competitive spirit from Xabi Alonso's team. In the end, Victor Boniface rewarded the relentless attacking efforts of the league leaders against passive but efficient visitors. The Werkself review.
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Summary: Werkself dominate top match

In front of full house at the BayArena, Dortmund took the first chance of the game on five minutes. Niclas Füllkrug held up the ball and knocked it into the path of Julian Ryerson, who netted the early opener. After that, Bayer 04 dominated proceedings. Again and again Jeremie Frimpong advanced down the right flank to create openings – as on 20 minutes when Granit Xhaka hit a long-range shot just wide of the target. There were further opportunities to score, with the best coming in added time at the end of the first half. Once again Frimpong with a low cross that Florian Wirtz turned into the net, but referee Daniel Siebert ruled the goal out for offside against Victor Boniface in the build-up after the intervention of VAR. The Werkself were clearly the better side in the second 45 but were unable to make the most of good chances for Exequiel Palacios and Wirtz (61'). Patrik Schick came off the bench and his first move saw him square the ball to Boniface to score a deserved leveller at 1-1 (79'). The Werkself pressed to the end but were unable to score a winner. The match report.

Reaction: "The only negative was us not taking our chances"

Alonso’s assessment of the encounter: "It wasn't an easy game. We tried a lot after conceding. We didn't have any chances despite having loads of control. At half-time we said we had to change things round right way," said the Spaniard. "One point isn't bad, but it could have been more. It was a good test of patience after conceding the goal. We wanted to retain control despite going behind. It was a good lesson."

Tor Boniface

Xhaka said: "One side of you is disappointed, the other proud. Dortmund are aiming to be at the top and compete for the title. That once again shows we played a good game. The only negative is we didn't take our chances. But our plan went well today." The Switzerland international is now looking forward not back: "The point is important to us – remaining unbeaten obviously says a lot. Now the focus is on Wednesday. That's a completely different competition and it's all about going through."

What the papers say: "Massive Leverkusens uperiority"

The Süddeutsche Zeitung headline read: "Leverkusen are now established league leaders", and described the draw as: "Xabi Alonso's team dominated the top match against Dortmund but were only able to draw 1-1. Whether Bayer 04 can retain top spot depends on the rearranged game between Bayern and Union Berlin." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported a "clearly defensive approach" in relation to Dortmund, adding: "No pressing, no being high up the pitch: BVB gained a point against Leverkusen with a brilliant interpretation of the classic strategy of an underdog." kicker talked about a Dortmund "underdog plan" and "massive Leverkusen superiority." The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung adopted a similar position: "Dortmund pick up lucky point at Leverkusen."

Personnel: Impressive attack

Boniface found the back of the net in the Bundesliga again after a run of five league games without scoring and – having also struck in the Europa League away to Häcken – now has eight Bundesliga goals this season – the Nigeria international has never previously scored as many league goals up to this point of the season. Since records started being kept in 2004/05, only Diego was involved in more goals in his first 13 Bundesliga matches (14) than Boniface (13). Harry Kane has played 12 Bundesliga matches for Bayern and has already clocked up 23 goal involvements.

On top of that, Wirtz, after winning possession twice in the final third of the pitch, overtook VfB Stuttgart's Chris Führich (17) in the Bundesliga ranking of the most high turnovers (18).

 

Werkself vor der Nordkurve

Stats: Impressive numbers

The Werkself had 24 shots on goal to Dortmund’s six. Bayer 04 also had 68.4% possession and won 53% of all duels. Pass completion was 87% and 73% for BVB. Also impressive is the fact the Black and Reds have scored in each of their last 13 Bundesliga fixtures.

Outlook: Midweek fixture and Sunday game

The next match at the BayArena is in three days with second division SC Paderborn the visitors in the DFB-Pokal round of 16 tie, with the kick-off at 18.00 CET. That is followed on Sunday 10 December (15.30) with an away game at VfB Stuttgart on Bundesliga Matchday 14.

 

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