Werkself exit DFB Cup in 4-3 defeat

A disappointing start to the 2022/23 season for Bayer 04: The Werkself lost 4-3 away to SV 07 Elversberg in the first round of the DFB Cup. Two early goals from the hosts (2'/17') were cancelled out by Adam Hlozek (5') and Charles Aránguiz (30'). After the third and fourth goal for the opposition, Patrik Schick pulled a goal back late on (89').

With the exception of Florian Wirtz and Amine Adli, who is set to return to full training shortly, Gerardo Seoane had his full squad available for the first match of the season in the DFB Cup. "We have 22 players who all have the ability and quality to be in the starting eleven," said the head coach who opted to play Edmond Tapsoba and Odilon Kossounou in central defence. Mitchel Bakker started at left-back and the two holding midfielders were Robert Andrich and Charles Aránguiz. Seoane selected Moussa Diaby, Sardar Azmoun and new signing Adam Hlozek to play up front behind Patrik Schick.

Bayer 04 had a warning: Elversberg have not lost this year and following promotion to the third division they have gone straight to the top of the table after a 5-1 win away to Rot-Weiss Essen. Coach Horst Steffen was not lacking in confidence ahead of the clash with the Werkself: "We are really confident and are therefore hopeful of being able to win the game."

early setback, prompt response

The game at the stadium on Kaiserlinde started with several minutes delay as the net on the goal behind Lukas Hradecky was not properly secured. 90 seconds had been played and the ball was already in the back of the Finn's net: Elversberg launched a quick attack and Jannik Rochelt, who had too much space in midfield, proceeded unchallenged to the edge of the box and fired a left foot shot into the far corner of the net for the lead on two minutes – Hradecky had no chance and the underdogs started sensationally. However, Bayer 04 responded in a flash: Adam Hlozek shot from 20 yards out and the tricky shot from the Czech went through the legs of the Elversberg keeper Nicolas Kristof – the leveller at 1-1 (5').

The hosts keeper looked at fault with the Leverkusen equaliser but he then saved a low shot from Schick with his feet (11'). 'The Elv' continued to pose a threat and were alert with the Rochelt again going forward with pace, Charles Aránguiz stuck his foot out on the edge of the box, the Elversberg player fell and the referee blew his whistle: Kevin Koffi converted the penalty to restore the lead for the third division side at 2-1 (17'). The Werkself almost hit back again straightaway but Kristof pulled off an impressive save in a one-on-one with Schick (19') and he also held onto a header from the centre-forward (23').


Aránguiz rounds off great attack

Bayer 04 again and again gave Elversberg too much space in the middle of the park giving them the chance to attack. The class of the Werkself was evident in a flowing attack that led to the equaliser at 2-2: Diaby picked out Azmoun who crossed into the middle where Aránguiz ran on to the ball to hit it into the back of the net – the second equaliser (30'). And there were chances for both sides after that: Koffi had a free header but Hradecky made the save (31') and Azmoun hit the inside of the post from a header from Schick (32'). Leverkusen remained extremely vulnerable in defence: The defence was bypassed with a long ball and a cross from the left by Koffi saw Luca Schnellbacher react quicker than Bakker and he slotted the ball into the net to make it 3-2 in a hectic encounter (37'). When Kevin Conrad held onto Schick in the penalty area but there was no penalty (45').

Gerardo Seoane reacted by making two changes at half-time: Kerem Demirbay and Paulinho came on for Aránguiz and Azmoun. The Brazilian played on the left flank with Hlozek filling the number ten slot. Elversberg was straight on the front foot again but a cross from Rochelt failed to find the head of Koffi (47’). At the other end, Kristof kept out a powerful curler from the nearby as it headed towards the far corner (48'). Elversberg put in physical challenges and often came out on top in tight duels. Bayer 04 were lucky that Robin Fellhauer failed to hit the target from a promising position after good work from Schnellbacher (51'). Schick demonstrated his great shooting technique with a powerful shot from 25 yards out that went in off the post but he was just offside in the build-up (59').

set piece brings fourth goal

Bayer 04 had increasing possession, Elversberg sat back as they look to play on the counter-attack. Seoane made another double substitution bringing on Karim Bellarabi and Exequiel Palacios for Hlozek and Andrich (69'). Leverkusen again slipped up and were punished: Conrad was unmarked as he headed the ball past a helpless Hradecky to make it 4-2 (74').



Schick goal comes too late

The Werkself made a fifth change with Joel Pohjanpalo replacing Jeremie Frimpong on 76 minutes. The hosts continued to have the better chances with a left-footed shot from Sinan Tekerci tipped over the bar by Hradecky (79'). Bayer 04 were now running out of time. Pohjanpalo hit a powerful shot from the right but the ball flew over the target (88'). However, Leverkusen came again and Schick scored from a Diaby cross to make it 4-3 (89'). There were four minutes of added time. The Werkself pressed and Bellarabi was unable to convert from a whipped-in cross from Bakker (90+2'). And when Kristof fell on to the header from Pohjanpalo the last chance was gone (90+5'). The final whistle followed.

A day after the first game of the 2022/23 season, the Werkself have the official season launch at the BayArena on Sunday with events at car park P3 starting at 10.30 CEST. Bayer 04 are in Bundesliga action for the first time on Saturday 6 August away to Borussia Dortmund with the top match kicking off at 18.30 CEST.

Match stats:

SV 07 Elversberg: Kristof – Fellhauer, Correia, Conrad, Neubauer – Feil (Dacaj 90 + 3’), Sickinger, Jacobsen (von Piechowski 90 + 3’) , Rochelt (Mustafa 68’) – Schnellbacher (Sahin 59’), Koffi (Tekerci 68’)

Bayer 04: Hradecky – Frimpong (Pohjanpalo 75'), Kossounou, Tapsoba, Bakker – Andrich (Palacios 69'), Aránguiz (Demirbay 46') – Diaby, Azmoun (Paulinho 46'), Hlozek (Bellarabi 69') – Schick

Goals: 1-0 Rochelt (2’), 1-1 Hlozek (5’), 2-1 Koffi (17’ pen.), 2-2 Aránguiz (30’), 3-2 Schnellbacher (37’), 4-2 Conrad (74’), 4-3 Schick (89’)

Referee: Petersen (Stuttgart)

Booked: Mustafa – Bakker, Diaby, Demirbay

Attendance: 7,714.


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