This is the Werkself at it’s best, just like against Dortmund and Rosenborg!! 3 very important points that we have added today in Stuttgart, especially looking at the results of the other top-teams (Bayern lost 1:2 against Mainz; Schalke only 2:2 against Mönchengladbach).
Jupp Heynckes lined up as I predicted on Friday, Reinartz played for Bender and Hyypiä took his position in defense. Renato Augusto returned to the starting line-up after his injury while Patrick Helmes stayed on the bench.
Bayer 04 started with a lot of determination, already in the first 10 minutes the Werkself had three good chances by Balitsch, Kadlec and Schwaab. In the 19th minute Leverkusen finally showed a decent set piece this season, Barnetta brought a free-kick into the area which Hyypiä headed into Stuttgart’s goal. The Werkself did not relax and scored two minutes later again. It was Arturo Vidal who established the 0-2 after a wonderful combination that reminded of the attractive football we played last season. After 30 minutes, Leverkusen could have increased to 0-3 in a counter-attack but Camoranesi fouled Barnetta just before reaching the area. He was sent off because of this foul and Derdiyok missed the following free-kick thanks to a great save by Ulreich.
With 0-2 the teams with into half-time. Stuttgart came out with a lot of energy in half two while Leverkusen decided to wait for the home team to attack. The consequence was that Stuttgart got back into the game, Kuzmanovic scored a free-kick an hour into the match. Leverkusen had good chances by counter-attack and soon increased to 1:3 by Baltisch. Stuttgart could have reduced the lead again but a goal of Pogrebnyak was disallowed because of a previous handball by Marica. In the last minutes of the game, Sam increased to 1:4.
Overall a very good performance of the Werkself. We can travel with a lot of confidence to Madrid. The 4-2-3-1 formation is working wonders and I think it will be the right tactic to play in Madrid. Just like today we need to give Atletico little space on our side of the pitch and switch quickly between defense and attack.
64 min. Rolfes for Renato Augusto
79 min. Sam for Barnetta
90 min. Jörgensen for Derdiyok
63 min. Marica for Harnik
70 min. Molinaro for Boka
Yellow cards: Molinaro (Stuttgart); M. Friedrich (Leverkusen)
Red cards: Camoranesi (Stuttgart, 31 min.)
0:1 Hyypiä (19 min)
0:2 Vidal (21 min.)
1:2 Kuzmanovic (52 min)
1:3 Balitsch (69 min.)
1:4 Sam (88 min.)
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I personally think that Arturo Vidal had an outstanding game as playmaker! What is your opinion, who was the best man on the pitch?