Bayer 04 Women still in race for fifth after win in Duisburg

Bayer 04 Women are still in with a chance of finishing fifth in the Google Pixel Bundesliga after a 3-1 victory in Duisburg in their last away game of the season. Loreen Bender, Nikola Karczewska and substitute Synne Skinnes Hansen scored for Leverkusen against the already relegated hosts, moving onto 31 points. It means a win at home to Werder Bremen on the final day is needed to have a chance over overtaking Hoffenheim into fifth.

“The win was very important to keep ahead of Leipzig and Bremen. We now need to give our all for three points against Bremen to maybe make it into fifth place. That has to be our goal,” said head coach Robert de Pauw. The Dutchman was also generally content with how his side played in Duisburg. “The performance was fine. Sometimes we were too unprecise and wasted a lot of chances. But we also allowed them very little in defence.” He’s now hoping for a big finish to the season against Werder: “We can achieve the best haul in the club’s history with three more points. If we can also get fifth place, that’d be super. We’re pleased there’s something to play for in the final match.”

De Pauw made three changes to his team from last week’s 2-1 loss at home to Bayern Munich. Caroline Siems, Paulina Bartz and Karczewska started in place of Sylwia Matysik, Julie Jorde and Estrella Merino Gonzalez. Selina Ostermeier missed out through illness.

Bender denied, then scores

In a mostly quiet opening phase with few chances, Duisburg were the somewhat more active team, but Bayer 04 started to take control after 10 minutes and soon created the first big chance when Bender drove into the box from the right and fired the ball from a narrow angle against the top-right corner of the goal.

Bender got her second chance not long after and this time made no mistake. The winger was picked out by a perfectly timed long ball from captain Elisa Senß before slotting past goalkeeper Ena Mahmutovic with 21 minutes gone. Lilla Turányi missed an opportunity to grab a second with her header from close range just moments later.

There was no mistake from Karczewska when the striker got her 10th goal of the season from a similar position to Bender after a pass from Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir. Bayer 04 remained the team on the front foot after that and also posed a threat from set pieces. Bartz missed the biggest chance when she fired over as it remained 2-0 at the break.

Elisa Senß

The second half resumed with no changes but a bit more energy. Bartz forced Mahmutovic into a good save with a long-range effort early on, but things then calmed back down again as Leverkusen continued to dominate.

De Pauw introduced fresh legs after the hour mark with Skinnes Hansen and Merino Gonzalez on for Vilhjálmsdóttir and Bartz. Not much changed in the pattern of play and Janou Levels dragged an effort wide from the edge of the box.

Skinnes Hansen responds to Bathmann

Duisburg got a goal back from a set piece when substitute Kara Bathmann put away on 64 minutes. De Pauw again made a double change by replacing Bender and Karczewska with Sofie Zdebel and Verena Wieder, but it was the earlier substitutes who then combined to add a third when Merino Gonzalez set up Skinnes Hansen.

Allie Hess struck Friederike Repohl’s crossbar immediately from the restart, while Wieder also struck the bar and was then denied by Mahmutovic at the other end. Jorde replaced Levels in the closing minutes, before Merino Gonzalez missed out on a fourth as it remained 3-1 to Leverkusen in Duisburg.

Final game against Bremen

Bayer 04’s Bundesliga campaign ends with a home game against Bremen on Monday, 20 May. Kick-off at the Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion is at 3.30pm CEST, with all games on Matchday 22 played simultaneously.

Match stats:

Duisburg: Mahmutovic (Frehse 86') - Freutel, Fürst, Thomas, Flach (Bathmann 64') - Halverkamps (Cin 64'), Muth, Hess (Radosavljević 88'), Zielinski (Prvulović 88')- Josten, Ries

Bayer 04: Repohl - Siems, Bragstad, Turányi - Bender (Zdebel 75'), Senß, Kögel, Levels (Jorde 85')- Vilhjálmsdóttir (Skinnes Hansen 64'), Bartz (Merino Gonzalez 64') - Karczewska (Wieder 75')

Goals: 0-1 Bender (21'), 0-2 Karczewska (34'), 1-2 Bathmann (71'), 1-3 Skinnes Hansen (76')

Yellow cards: -

Referee: Melissa Joos

Attendance: 811 at the Schauinsland-Reisen-Arena

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