Sonntag, 28. April 2024

"Not Now, Darling, It's Stoppage Time!" – Bayer Leverkusen and the Art of Last-Minute Goals

On Matchday 31 of the Bundesliga, Bayer 04 Leverkusen once again demonstrated that the game is not over until the referee blows the whistle – not a second sooner. In a nerve-wracking match against VfB Stuttgart, which made many hearts in the BayArena beat faster, the Werkself secured a 2-2 draw thanks to Robert Andrich's goal in the very last second of the game.

The match began with a bold change in the starting lineup by head coach Xabi Alonso, who brought in four new players, including Odilon Kossounou for Piero Hincapie and Exequiel Palacios for the suspended Granit Xhaka. These fresh forces were meant to help intensify the high pressing and offensive pressure – a strategy that saw Leverkusen dominate the early minutes. Despite some brilliant chances from Alejandro Grimaldo and Patrik Schick, the ball just wouldn’t find the net.

After the halftime break, the guests from Stuttgart seemed to get into the game better and quickly scored a 2-0 lead through Chris Führich and Deniz Undav. But the Werkself did not let up. Led by an indefatigable Amine Adli and creative support from Grimaldo, Leverkusen began an impressive comeback. Adli's goal not only brought the team back into the game but also revived the fans.

The final minutes at the BayArena were not for the faint-hearted. Leverkusen pressed, Stuttgart defended with everything they had, and then came the moment for Robert Andrich: A free kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time found its way to his feet, and with a precise shot, he not only saved a point but also the incredible streak of 46 matches undefeated across competitions.

This dramatic evening further underscores why you should never leave before the final whistle when Bayer 04 is playing. The ability to decide games in the last minutes has not only delivered spectacular moments but also set a new Bundesliga record: nine points this season through goals after the 90th minute.

Looking ahead: The team now travels to Rome to compete in the semi-final first leg of the UEFA Europa League before continuing in the Bundesliga against Eintracht Frankfurt. Coach Xabi Alonso will be missing there due to a suspension, but if one thing is certain, it's that his players know how to fight until the last moment.

The Werkself has once again proven that anything is possible in football – especially in stoppage time. Or as the saying goes: "Not now, darling, it's stoppage time!" – at least, when Bayer Leverkusen is playing.

Sonntag, 21. April 2024

And still unbeaten

It was a match that would almost have gone down in the soccer history books as Bayer 04's first defeat of the season had Josip Stanisic not decided in the 98th minute that he had something against it. Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 on matchday 30 of the Bundesliga, with the Werkself once again proving that they have a taste for the dramatic.

The game at Signal Iduna Park was for a long time a chess match without a kingside attack, with both teams carefully moving their pieces around. The first half was a game of patience that mainly took place between the penalty areas. The spectators saw a lot of passing, a few interruptions and few compelling chances to score. There was a lot at stake for Bayer: their impressive unbeaten run of 45 games was in danger of coming to an end.

Dortmund, fresh from their 4:2 triumph against Atletico Madrid, seemed to be saving their strength for the decisive moments. And then came the 82nd minute: Niclas Füllkrug, Dortmund's reliable life insurance in front of goal, scored to make it 1:0 - a shock moment for Leverkusen, who had dominated the game up to that point without being able to capitalize on it.

But if there is one constant at Bayer 04 this season, it is the art of late goals. When most people were already expecting the visitors to lose, Leverkusen showed resilience. In the eighth minute of stoppage time, Florian Wirtz flicked a corner onto the head of Stanisic, who equalized and saved the unbeaten streak. The moment the ball hit the net could almost be described as cinematic - if there hadn't already been so many similar scenes this season!

The outlook remains exciting: The next game takes Bayer 04 to a top match at home in the BayArena, where VfB Stuttgart await next Saturday. Let's hope that Xabi Alonso's team offer their fans a little less thrills - or maybe not, because it's precisely this drama that makes Bayer 04's games so irresistible this season.

One thing is certain: fans of the Werkself must continue to expect everything - except boredom.

Freitag, 19. April 2024

The madness continues

Last night at the London Stadium was not for the faint-hearted - it was a rollercoaster ride! Bayer 04 Leverkusen showed once again why you should never write them off, even when things aren't going well. Despite an early shock from Michail Antonio's header in the 13th minute, the Werkself kept a firm grip on the game, or at least a firm enough grip not to fall overboard.

Leverkusen had already secured a solid 2-0 lead in the first leg, meaning that even a 1-1 draw away from home was enough to book their ticket to the Europa League semi-finals. But they never make it easy. The first goal for West Ham briefly brought worry lines to the foreheads of the Leverkusen fans. Will the Hammers turn the game around? Will this be the start of a bitter evening? Not with Bayer 04!

The first half seemed to mirror many scenarios of the season: Leverkusen were initially intimidated by the Hammers' pressure and momentum, but as is so often the case, the team showed character. With every passing minute in the second half, they grew in confidence and the substitutions of Victor Boniface and Jeremie Frimpong proved to be spot on. Frimpong, the nimble winger, brought a breath of fresh air and a dose of unpredictability to the pitch.

It was a nerve-wracking back-and-forth with no goals until the 89th minute - when Frimpong made his grand entrance. He finally found the net with a long-range shot that was deflected by an opponent. The 1:1! A goal that not only silenced the West Ham fans, but also sent the Leverkusen fans into ecstatic jubilation.

The result? Another glorious entry in Bayer 04 Leverkusen's history books: 44 games unbeaten in a row, a new record in Europe's top five leagues. And while the Werkself continue their march through Europe, we can sit back and say: "That was typical Bayer again - never boring, always dramatic."

Montag, 15. April 2024

Never champions was yesterday - Bayer 04 scales the Bundesliga Olympus!

 What a historic evening in Leverkusen! On the 29th Bundesliga matchday, Bayer 04 made history by securing the club's first German championship title with an impressive 5:0 victory over Werder Bremen. A result that not only sent the fans into ecstasy, but also proved that dreams really can come true in football.

Right from the start, the Werkself put in a performance worthy of a true champion. Victor Boniface gave the team the lead with a penalty in the 25th minute, followed by a long-range strike from Granit Xhaka in the 61st minute. But the real star of the evening was Florian Wirtz, who sealed the fate of the game with his hat-trick in the second half and turned the BayArena into a sea of red and black flags.

The decision came on an evening when head coach Xabi Alonso surprised everyone by making seven changes to the starting line-up, underlining the tactical depth and confidence in his squad. The fans and players united in an unprecedented mood of celebration that could soon be felt from Bismarckstraße to every corner of Leverkusen.

This title is not just a triumph on paper; it is a liberation from the long-standing nickname "Vizekusen" that has accompanied the club for decades. It is a victory that reflects the hard work, commitment and passion that everyone at the club has put into this season. With this championship title, Bayer 04 has finally engraved itself in the annals of Bundesliga history.

The team has also continued an impressive unbeaten run of 43 games, underlining their dominance this season. This success goes far beyond the usual calculation; it speaks to an extraordinary union of talent, strategy and heart.

As expected, the reaction to the win was emotional and exuberant. From the club management to the fans on the streets, there was a deep sense of gratitude and joy at this historic moment. Winning the German championship is not only a sporting success, but also a symbolic moment that strengthens the community and demonstrates the shared pursuit of excellence.

While the city still revels in the celebrations of the title win, the team's focus remains focussed. Bayer 04 not only faces further challenges in the UEFA Europa League, but also the task of repeating this success next season and possibly even triumphing on the European stage.

This title win may sound like a fairytale to many, but for Bayer 04 Leverkusen and its supporters it has become a hard-earned reality. A dream realised through perseverance, belief and unwavering support. In doing so, Leverkusen has not only won a trophy, but also written an unforgettable chapter in its club history.

Freitag, 12. April 2024

Hofmann's magic and Boniface's headbutt

It was another one of those evenings when Bayer fans' hearts beat faster right up to the last minute. In the thrilling UEFA Europa League quarter-final first leg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen put in an impressive performance against West Ham United, scoring late goals to secure a 2-0 victory.

The BayArena was not only sold out that evening, but also filled with a tense atmosphere worthy of any thriller. Bayer dominated the first half, but despite overwhelming chances and more than 80% possession, the ball just wouldn't find the net. West Ham, who had a strong defensive focus, were lucky to go into half-time without conceding a goal.

However, Xabi Alonso, Leverkusen's tactical mastermind, once again proved his golden touch with player changes. When many fans were already expecting a draw, he brought fresh blood onto the pitch. Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface, who were both only substituted in the 76th minute, were to decide the game within the last ten minutes.

Hofmann's goal in the 83rd minute was a real masterstroke. After a corner and an initially blocked shot, he took a volley and hit the net with a precision that would make any goalkeeper sweat. The stadium exploded into cheers as if the decisive goal had been scored in a World Cup final.

Sonntag, 7. April 2024

Turn 3 into 1

We turn three necessary victories into one necessary victory. After our three points at Union and the Bayern defeat in Heidenheim, we need one more win to win the championship. But first things first.
The soccer world looks on in amazement at Leverkusen, where the Werkself have apparently decided to turn the Bundesliga into a one-man show - or should we say a one-team show? After a triumphant 1-0 win at Union Berlin and a damaging defeat of Bayern in Heidenheim, Bayer 04 have not only climbed to the top of the table, but are now 16 points above the rest. Yes, you read that right: 16 points!

While Bayern are licking their wounds somewhere in Heidenheim, Leverkusen could make history next Sunday against Werder Bremen. One win and the Black & Reds could snatch the league title.

Xabi Alonso, the Spanish master of strategy, has made a good shake-up against Union Berlin and brought in six fresh faces. The result? A game that Leverkusen dominated, even if the goal was only scored in stoppage time from a penalty. A classic case of "late, but not too late". Union Berlin, usually such a robust fortress, could do little to counter Leverkusen's patient style of play.

After the break, Bayer retained the upper hand, even if the second goal failed to materialize. But why waste energy unnecessarily when the lead is safely in the bag and the opponent is a man down? A bit like a cat and mouse, only in this case the mouse is quite big and dressed in red and white.

The next challenge awaits with the Europa League clash against West Ham United.  Alonso and his team know that there is no room for arrogance.

Mittwoch, 3. April 2024

Four Goals to Happiness: Leverkusen’s Cup Party Silences Düsseldorf!

On a night that will likely go down in the history books of the BayArena, Bayer 04 Leverkusen set off fireworks in the DFB-Pokal semi-final, sweeping Fortuna Düsseldorf off the pitch with a 4-0 victory. This result not only sent the fans into ecstasy but also made a clear statement in German football: The Werkself is hungry for silverware!

From the kickoff, Leverkusen dominated the proceedings and left no doubt about who would leave the field victorious. Jeremie Frimpong, the lightning-fast full-back, kicked things into high gear and put the Werkself ahead in the 8th minute. His goal was the starting signal for a remarkable first half in which Amine Adli and Florian Wirtz extended the lead to 3:0. Adli's goal in the 20th minute and Wirtz's precision strike in the 36th minute showcased a team at its peak, impressing with joyful play and efficiency.

However, the highlight of the match was Wirtz’s penalty in the 60th minute, sealing the 4-0 final score and sending the BayArena fans into a dreamlike state. The Leverkuseners, under the guidance of head coach Xabi Alonso, presented themselves as a unit, striving for success with every fiber of their being.

The game was not only about celebrating goals but also about notable personnel decisions. Josip Stanisic in defense, and Amine Adli in the offense showed that Alonso’s tactical adjustments were fruitful. Moreover, the return of Victor Boniface, who almost scored after a long injury break, was significant.

This triumphant victory over Düsseldorf is more than just a step into the cup final. It is a sign of strength, a testament to the tactical maturity and squad depth that characterizes Bayer 04 Leverkusen this season. With such a performance and the dream of winning the cup in sight, the Werkself is powering full steam ahead to the final in Berlin. There, on May 25th, they face 1. FC Kaiserslautern, against whom Leverkusen aims to turn this cup dream into reality.

Now, it's crucial to maintain focus and form, as the schedule is packed. Next up is the league match against Union Berlin, followed by the Europa League quarter-final against West Ham United. In these decisive weeks, it will become clear whether the Werkself has the strength and determination to achieve its goals. But after a night like this, anything seems possible. Berlin, Berlin, we're heading to Berlin!

Double Delight: Bayer 04 at the Pinnacle of Happiness!

It was a final that made the hearts of Bayer 04 fans race. Compared to the UEFA Europa League final against Atalanta Bergamo on Wednesday, w...