Leverkusen before the best games: Are Bayer ready for big things?

AAs Leverkusen’s professionals came out in front of the visitors’ block to celebrate the victory after the final whistle, various aircraft were flashed on the scoreboard in advertising. The Rhenish ambitious players did not need to take off to complete the mandatory task for South Hesse with a 2-0 away win. As coach Javi Alonso called it, a “serious performance” was enough. To maintain a two-point lead over top-of-the-table Bayern.

To limit the effort required to achieve, achieve and then manage success until the second goal in the 52nd minute. To prepare you for the next home game week, which could be crucial in turning this great season into a fantastic one: the DFB Cup match against Stuttgart takes place on Tuesday (20:45 ticker FAZ). Cup, on ARD and on Sky) for a place in the semi-finals, and on Saturday there will be a live match with Bayern (18.30 on the FAZ live ticker for the Bundesliga and on Sky) in the fight for their German championship with Munich. Granit Xhaka did not call Bayern by name, but only used the formula: “big game” as a synonym.

The central midfielder will be able to contribute to this. There was speculation that Alonso would not use his thinker and driver in the first-versus-last duel to avoid a suspension due to a possible fifth yellow card. But the Swiss played 89 minutes at Bellenfalltor, including the risk of mistiming the fight against an initially physical newcomer.

Key moment

But the 31-year-old professional model no longer has much in common with the old player, who could become emotional. “With the help of the team, many fights were won that I was not allowed into. That made it a lot easier for me,” said Xhaka, speaking of the team functioning in his favor. However, he was the linchpin of the Leverkusen game. If Xhaka was the game manager and Florian Wirtz the game booster in front of 17,800 spectators, the Darmstadt team had no antidote.

“We solved this problem very well again,” Xhaka said. The lead role was played by a teammate who was making his first appearance in Bayer’s starting line-up in the league: Nathan Tella. The winger only managed to land a header (22nd minute) without lifting his 1.73m height into the air. His second direct hit (52nd) into the corner at 110 kilometers per hour calmed the game and the Darmstadt fans, as at that moment they realized the hopelessness of inflicting a first defeat on the Rhinelanders in their 29th official game.

Only four teams in the league have managed to go undefeated from the start in 20 Bundesliga matches. On the other hand, the Darmstadt team needs to be careful not to become one of the few teams that does not win 20 games in a row. South Hesse’s speedometer currently stands at 13. “We lost to the new German champions,” coach Torsten Lieberknecht began at the press conference, before pausing and adding: “I wish that for them very much.”

Wirtz probably also wanted a special award at the beginning of the season. When the news came that his goal in October, in which the national player deceived the entire Freiburg defense by dancing with the ball, had been voted Goal of the Year, applause erupted in the Böllenfalter stadium.

Soon after work, coach Alonso elevated Wirtz to the title of “genius.” On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen, who signed Borja Iglesias, continued to look for connections during his debut. The Spaniard was mostly present during his 90-minute match, but rarely in the middle. But what was not particularly noticeable in the team, which in 20 game days had already scored two more points (52) than in the entire previous season.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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