Friday, 9/9/2011 @20:30 (GMT+2)
With most fans already looking ahead to Tuesday’s clash against Chelsea, the Werkself is expected to sum 3 points against a team that 99,99% of football experts see without a chance to maintain the division.
Press Conference (Thursday)
Opening statement Robin Dutt: What game do I expect on Friday? It will be different to the last three. After the initial defeats against Dresden and Mainz, I had to focus our training session mainly on defensive behaviour given that we were playing 3 quality teams next: Bremen, Stuttgart and Dortmund. We know of our offensive strength and that we always good for a goal. So it worked out well at the end. Against Augsburg, Bayer 04 takes the role of favourite and should have the ball at most times as they are expected to take a defensive approach. A quick transition from defense into attack will be necessary to find the spaces in their defense. This is going to require concentration and discipline from my team.
Question: Augsburg has hardly any strikers available: Nando and Oehrl are injured, Thurk suspended by the club. Only Mölders seems to be the option for the coach, do you expect a very destructive side?
Dutt: Yes Nando picked up an injury in a test game after scoring 2 goals, that’s a tough loss for them. Though Mölders has been dangerous as only forward in their line-up, especially in counter-attacks. I don’t expect a completely defensive opponent, but they will surely be cautious going forward. Augsburg had a bad start, we can therefore also expect some changes and surprises.
Question: Is this Friday game a problem for you or could you work well with the team this week as not many players were absent?
Dutt: Especially Simon Rolfes, André Schürrle and Eren Derdiyok have played a lot of minutes with their national sides. The players that stayed here, did a great job in the training sessions. At the moment we have the correct mixture: Fun and at the same time concentration whenever we hit the training pitch.
Question: Leverkusen is going to be very busy with a lot of matches in the next weeks. Are you looking forward to the participation in the Champions League?
Dutt: We are trying to put that aside until the referee blows the final whistle tomorrow. Of course given the short time between Augsburg and Chelsea, I have used this break to watch also a few matches of our Champions League rival. Me and the team are looking forward to measure ourselves against the best sides in Europe. But at the end, I don’t see much difference in playing against Bayern Munich or now against Chelsea, they are both top teams internationally speaking. We will go out with the objective to win as in every other game.
Question: Do you a see risk that some of the players are already thinking ahead and underestimating Augsburg?
Dutt: We had little line-up changes in the last weeks. If it becomes apparent, I am sure to have players who are very keen on playing against Augsburg. Maintaining the concentration in both competitions is especially important in the upcoming weeks.
Intervention of Gonzalo Castro
“It was a productive week and a half, our training session were filled with intensity. I think we are well prepared and should travel with the sufficient confidence to Augsburg to grab the 3 points.”
Question: How much confidence has the team gained out of the game against Dortmund, where Bayer 04 clearly dominated the first half?
Castro: A lot! I think in the first 60 minutes till the red card we contained them very well, Dortmund did not create much danger. We should have scored two goals but unfortunately they didn’t go down. After the red card, everything changed. Under the line, it was a great performance which showed that we are able to compete successfully against the best.
Question: It looks like that the right-back position in the German team is still not very defined. Do you still have the dream of returning to the Nationalmannschaft?
Castro: Of course I maintain this dream, but I think we should be realistic. Bayer 04 comes first, we have now a lot of important matches in the Bundesliga and Champions League. My whole concentration is channeled at that, anything else arrives with strong performances at the club.
With Kadlec suspended for three games and Oczipka doing his first rounds on the training pitch this week following his injury, Castro will take the role of left-back.
Ballack is expected to receive the honor to start against Chelsea, to oil the engine playing in Augsburg would help.
Line-up Augsburg (from Kicker):
Jentzsch-Callsen Bracker,Sankoh,de Roeck,Davids-Hosogai,Sinkala-Bah,Baier,Bellinghausen-Mölders
Comments are welcomed 😉