Category Archives: Ballack

Game Report: Bundesliga, Fixture 11, SC Freiburg vs Bayer Leverkusen 0:1

An early goal from Michael Ballack was enough for Bayer Leverkusen to secure a 1-0 Bundesliga victory over struggling Freiburg, who will lament its poor finishing, having missed a string of chances to equalize.

Robin Dutt’s men didn’t have to wait long to take the lead. Omer Toprak got his head to Michal Kadlec’s corner and Manuel Friedrich flicked the ball to Michael Ballack, who tapped the ball past Oliver Baumann to give the visitors the lead.

Papiss Cisse struck the woodwork as the first half wore on, coming to the near post to meet Anton Putsila’s cross, and he would also send a header narrowly wide on the stroke of half time.

Leverkusen, meanwhile, was largely unable to capitalize on its early dominance, with a Sidney Sam shot that went narrowly wide the closest the visitors came to doubling its advantage.

Leno, who looked shaky all night, spilled a fierce shot from Stefan Reisinger, but was able to get back to the ball before any Freiburg striker.

In an attempt to quell the hosts’ dominance, Dutt withdrew Andre Schurrle and replaced him with Stefan Reinartz, a center-back, but the additional defender was unable top shore up the defense.

Leno was forced into making two late saves, first to deny Reisinger, who blasted a shot goalward after a turn in the box, and then stopping a tame header from Oliver Barth from the resulting corner.

In the end, Freiburg’s poor finishing betrayed them and Bayer left with all three points. This result leaves the hosts rooted to the bottom of the table, while the visitors leapfrog Hoffenheim and move into eighth place.


See also Bundesliga Fanatic Analysis>> Link

Line-up: Freiburg (top) vs Leverkusen (bottom)

Substitutions Freiburg
69 min. Reisinger for Dembelé
76 min. Jendrisek for Putsila
81 min. Makiadi for Rosenthal

Substitutions Leverkusen
65 min. Rolfes for Ballack
74 min. Kießling for Derdiyok
83 min. Reinartz for Schürrle

Yellow Cards: Cissé (Freiburg)

0:1 Ballack (2 min.)

Statistics Freiburg vs Leverkusen
Posession: 54 % vs 46 %
Shots: 20 vs 10
Fouls: 21 vs 12
Corners: 6 vs 2
Offsides: 5 vs 5
Distance covered (km): 124 vs 124

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or here>> (just Ballack goal)


Game Report: Bundesliga, Fixture 8, Bayer Leverkusen vs VfL Wolfsburg 3:1

Bayer Leverkusen got back to winning ways in the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.

The win takes them into a pack of teams chasing the top three and leaves the Wolves struggling on the back of their fifth defeat of the season.

Gonzalo Castro gave Leverkusen the lead in the 14th minute, but Mario Mandzukic levelled for the visitors on the hour mark.

Eren Derdiyok restored the home team’s advantage five minutes later and Stefan Kiessling rounded off the win five minutes from time.

The three points will be particularly welcome for Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt, who had moved into the firing line after heavy defeats to Cologne and Bayern Munich in their last two league matches.

Leverkusen could have gone ahead in the 13th minute when Kiessling met Sidney Sam’s cross with his head from point-blank range, but Diego Benaglio somehow managed to keep the ball out.

There was nothing Wolfsburg’s Swiss goalkeeper could do a minute later, though, as Castro took the ball round him and scored from a tight angle after Derdiyok and Kiessling crafted the opening.

Fresh from his goal in the Champions League in midweek, Michael Ballack almost got his name on the scoresheet again, but his shot hit the post in the 38th minute.

Benaglio then denied the former Germany captain with a fine save just before the interval.

Leverkusen were punished for not adding to their early goal when the Wolves drew level in the 52nd minute. Marcel Schafer crossed to the far post from the goal line and Mandzukic leapt to head in from close range.

Their joy at equalising was short-lived, however, with the lively Derdiyok restoring Leverkusen’s lead in spectacular fashion in the 65th minute.

He met Hanno Balitsch’s cross with an acrobatic overhead kick that left Benaglio no chance.

Kiessling then ended Wolfsburg’s faint hopes of finding an equaliser, keeping his cool to beat Benaglio in a one-on-one situation after being put through by Simon Rolfes.


Short comment by Patrick1904:

A convincing team effort yesterday by the Werkself, it seems like that the focus on communication this week between players and coach has paid off. The rare public criticism of Bayer 04’s management towards a player/team performance, in this case Wolfgang Holzhäuser vs Renato Augusto: “His performances have been poor lately, we expect more of him”, have clearly shaken things around if you look at the first goal celebration and Castro’s defense after the game: “He is a sensitive player, the celebration was planned beforehand”.

Together with the first time use this season of a 4-4-2 and some needed modifications to the line-up itself (Rolfes and Renato deserved a place on the bench), the Werkself celebrated an offensive festival at the BayArena. It was fun to watch and for me the second best performance this season next to the game against Dortmund.

However Wolfsburg with it’s usual crazy summer transfer activities is at this moment of the season, not a real test of strength. The same goes for Genk last Wednesday.

The next games against Mönchengladbach, Valencia and Schalke will surely allow us to judge better.

Line-up: Leverkusen (bottom) vs Wolfsburg (top)

Substitutions Leverkusen
67 min. Rolfes for L. Bender
72 min. Schwaab for Derdiyok
88 min. M. Friedrich for Ballack

Substitutions Wolfsburg
46 min. Hasebe for Jönsson
46 min. Helmes for Lakic
69 min. Koo for Josué

Yellow Cards: Derdiyok (Leverkusen); Josué and Russ (both Wolfsburg)

1:0 Castro (14 min.)
1:1 Mandzukic (59 min.)
2:1 Derdiyok (65 min.)
3:1 Kießling (85 min.)

Statistics Leverkusen vs Wolfsburg
Posession: 52 % vs 48 %
Shots: 19 vs 8
Fouls: 16 vs 22
Corners: 6 vs 4
Offsides: 5 vs 4
Distance covered (km): 118 vs 111

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or here>>

Leno has replaced Adler not only in the line-up

Stupid rule: Derdiyok receives yellow for taking his shirt off celebrating the bicycle kick goal

Cheer up Reinartz! You played some unusual good long balls

More photos @

Loved Gonzalo Castro in midfield, that’s where he really belongs in my opinion. Ballack has clearly an upwards trend, the big question is: When will he play an entire match? And score his first Bundesliga goal since the transfer back to Bayer 04? Will it happen before the winter-break?

Why is Derdiyok focused more on quality than quantity of goals? Goals against Bremen/Schalke in low-scoring 2010/11 for example.

Game Report: Champions League Group E, Fixture 1, Chelsea FC vs Bayer Leverkusen 2:0

by Patrick1904

Most Leverkusen Fans went yesterday to sleep with a smile on their face. The Werkself had put together a better than expected display against the English giant. It was cleverness that decided the encounter at the end.  No surprise at this level.

Bayer 04’s defense managed to not receive a goal in the first half and was only under pressure in the last 10 minutes before the break. Especially the beginning of the second half brought a lot of chances for the Leverkusen side.

However in middle of this Bayer momentum in the second half, Blues Brazilian centre-back David Luiz struck our hearts with a shot to the far post from outside of the area. Unstoppable for Leno, who had been brilliant at the Bridge, with saves that Capello would love to see from any (young) English goalkeeper. The upper hand that Bayer 04 possessed until the 67th minute was flushed away. Ballack missed a 1 on 1 against Cech just a few minutes earlier and got substituted 37 seconds prior to Luiz’s goal! Did we lose our organisation on the pitch? Why is the most veteran player on the squad not allowed to play 90 minutes? According to him he felt fine and with the sufficient energies to endure the entire match.

There is no doubt that Robin Dutt did an excellent job at analysing the opponent, choosing the right line-up (Schürrle instead of poor defending Renato) and giving the right instructions to his players. Just as an example, the high amount of long goal kicks/throws to Kiessling were aimed at avoiding deadly ball losses in our part of the field, like we have seen in the recent past.  But Ballack’s substitution was a mistake and I am sure he knows that. The 35 year-old was a reference for the players around him and won 70% of his direct challenges. Sidney Sam hardly ignited his turbo yesterday night and would have been the correct man to come off at that time. This cannot serve as an excuse for the goal received, but it underlines that we were missing cleverness from both players and the coach in these deciding moments.

Following the goal, the Werkself continued to fight for every centimeter of grass. However opportunities were rare and Chelsea way more dangerous on the counter-attack with Lampard and Anelka, both were brought on minutes prior to Chelsea’s goal. The increasingly offensive attitude of Leverkusen, gave the second goal to Chelsea on a silver tablet. Similar as against Villareal in the BayArena the desperate run forward came expensive. Let’s just hope that we will not remember Juan Mata’s goal in the last fixture.

YES we played a great match, but we did not achieve a great RESULT (draw), let’s not forget that!  A lot of good chances were wasted, as you can see below in the statistics.

Who knows! Maybe it would have been better to not have dreamt about a victory at Stamford Bridge and instead used a more conservative approach in the second half (Balitsch for Sam). This is my impression, we really went for it following the half-time break.

Sounds a bit negative from side, but hey cannot always give away roses.  If you want that just read  😉

Dutt’s statement after the match

“Actually, not much went wrong [for us]. We had a huge chance to take the lead through [Michael] Ballack, but then a centre-back is allowed to march right through the entire midfield to score. That was one of the few moments where we were not very well organised. That was the decisive thing today; Chelsea opening the scoring. Chelsea won deservedly, no question about it. But nevertheless I have seen a good performance from my team.”

Line-up: Chelsea (top) vs Leverkusen (bottom)

Substitutions Chelsea
64 min. Anelka for Sturridge
64 min. Lampard for Raul Meireles
76 min. Alex for David Luiz

Substitutions Leverkusen
66 min. Renato Augusto for Ballack
73 min. Derdiyok for Sam
80 min. Balitsch for L. Bender

Yellow Cards: Fernando Torres and David Luiz (both Chelsea); Castro, L. Bender and Derdiyok (all Leverkusen)

1:0 David Luiz (67 min.)
2:0 Mata (90. + 2 min.)

Statistics Chelsea vs Leverkusen
Attempts on target: 11 vs 2
Attempts off target: 10 vs 6
Corners: 6 vs 2
Offsides: 2 vs 1
Fouls committed: 17 vs 24

Group E

KRC Genk vs FC Valencia 0:0

1 Chelsea FC          3 Points (2:0 goals)
2 Valencia CF       1 Point (0:0 goals)
3 KRC Genk           1 Point (0:0 goals)
4 Bayer 04 Leverkusen     0 Points (0:2 goals)

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or here (5 min. better quality)>>

Our fans were amazing in London!


Brilliant for me yesterday: Leno, Toprak, Schürrle and Ballack
Disappointing: Bender and Sam

Go ahead and discuss!

Game Report: Bundesliga, Fixture 5, FC Augsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen 1:4

by Patrick1904

Sidney Sam scored an impressive double to send Bayer Leverkusen to the summit of the Bundesliga with a 4-1 away win at newly-promoted Augsburg at the SGL Arena.

The hosts took a surprise lead in the fifth minute when Hajime Hosogai drilled the ball home from close range, against the club he is currently on-loan from.

However, Robin Dutt’s side were back in the game a minute later when Sidney Sam latched onto a Stefan Kiessling through ball to bring Leverkusen all square.

In the 23rd minute, the away team was in front when Kiessling managed to control Renato Augusto’s pass before striking the ball past the helpless Simon Jentzsch to give his side a 2-1 lead at the break.

Both sides contested an entertaining second half but Leverkusen was able to put the game beyond doubt in the 73rd minute when Gonzalo Castro found Sam who made no mistake in drilling the ball home.

Substitute Eren Derdiyok completed the scoring in the 80th minute when on the second attempt, he slammed the ball past Jentzsch who had originally made a decent save.

Former Chelsea player and Germany captain Michael Ballack partnered Simon Rolfes in the Leverkusen midfield, raising the prospect that he could appear against his former club. Leverkusen meet the Londoners in Champions League action on Tuesday.

“Augsburg kept us very busy, so it is important to recover quickly from this match,” said Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt. “I am very satisfied with Michael, but I don’t yet know if he will start against Chelsea.”

Source: /

Starting line-up: Augsburg (top) vs Leverkusen (bottom)

Substitutions Augsburg
62 min. Gogia for Werner
62 min. Reinhardt for Sinkala
77 min. Bah for Bellinghausen

Substitutions Leverkusen
60 min. Schürrle for Ballack
68 min. Balitsch for L. Bender
75 min. Derdiyok for Kießling

Yellow Cards: Sinkala (Augsburg); Schwaab,Ballack,Balitsch (Leverkusen)

1:0 Hosogai (5 min.)
1:1 Sam (6 min.)
1:2 Kießling (23 min.)
1:3 Sam (72 min.)
1:4 Derdiyok (79 min.)

Statistics Augsburg vs Leverkusen
Posession: 42 % vs 58 %
Shots: 18 vs 17
Fouls: 14 vs 12
Corners: 4 vs 2
Offsides: 0 vs 1
Distance covered (km): 108 vs 115

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or here>>

An interesting statistic that I have added is the distance covered by teams.  Dutt declared prior to the match, that he would like to see a victory with less physical efforts than in the last three games.  The Werkself covered an average of 117,2 km in these three encounters and hit in Stuttgart a high of 123,1 km.  Against Augsburg we were close to 110 km, the objective set out by the coach for the eco-mode.

Although the tactical formation hasn’t really changed, we are starting to see a few tweaks that Robin Dutt is implementing:

  • Dynamic offensive midfielder line>> All 3 players constantly switch their positions.  Superiority is sometimes created by leaving one flank abandoned
  • Kiessling pulls defenders out by falling back into midfield
  • Wingers especially Sidney Sam abuse of diagonal runs to cause disorganisation in the opponent’s defense
  • While Simon Rolfes was very involved offensively in the first games of the season, he now has the order to hold his position and not to get involved in attacking movements. His partner Lars Bender enjoys more freedom, generally it’s very rare that they switch their role in defensive midfield, something which was common last season (“You go up, I stay”).

Overall a deserved victory, but things could have gotten complicated if Augsburg would have been more clever in front of goal.

Against Chelsea we need to put in the sixth gear (>120 km covered) and play with the same concentration as against Dortmund, if we want to have a chance at all.

Match Preview: Bundesliga, Fixture 5, FC Augsburg vs Bayer Leverkusen

by Patrick1904

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 😉

Match Preview: DFB Pokal, 1st Round, Dynamo Dresden vs Bayer Leverkusen

Saturday, 30/07/2011 @15:30 (GMT+2)

Test games are finally history, the new season is just a few hours away!

Find below an extract of Robin Dutt’s press conference on Thursday:

Question: Have you decided which goalkeeper is going to replace René Adler on Saturday?

Robin Dutt: David Yelldell will be in goal.  It was a very close call influenced by a lot of factors.  One of them, was the choice between short-term (Yelldell) and long-term prospects (Giefer).  At the end we thought it was better to go with the short-term perspective, also hoping that René Adler will return soon to the line-up.  Both goalkeepers showed a similar level in the pre-season, that’s why we had to take into account the experience factor.  David played the entire last season with Duisburg and was also majorily responsible for the run into the Cup final. He did not receive any goal in the test games, although it must be said that Giefer’s received goals cannot be put on the negative side. As said a close call!

Question: Could you please comment on the opponent…

Robin Dutt: On paper there are surely easier match-ups in this first round.  We have seen in their home game against Rostock, that the crowd is very emotional.  Against a Champions League team we can expect the fans to be even more motivated.  Dresden has experienced player such as captain Christian Fiél, Filip Trojan and also speed on the wings with Heller.  Leverkusen will emerge victorious if we manage to put our qualities on the pitch in both defense and offense.  In this competition it’s possible to advance very far, the difference with the Bundesliga is that mistakes are not allowed, everything is decided in one game.  Once you lose, you out.  And like every year a team from the 1.Bundesliga will be eliminated by a lower division side.  We have to make sure that’s it not us.

Question: Mr.Dutt, how close did the team get to your football philosophy during this pre-season?

Robin Dutt: We made some progress over the last week, looking at the game against Genk.  However you cannot expect that everything has been absorbed at this point.  The team’s mentality is already very close to what I expect, in the tactical area there is still work to do.  But my side is at the stage where it should be after a season preparation.

Question: How do you see Ballack’s role regarding Saturday and for the coming weeks?

Robin Dutt: It’s important to bring every player close to their potential.  Michael is in a very good physical condition.  But in central midfield we have 6 great players: Simon Rolfes, Michael Ballack, Gonzalo Castro, Lars Bender, Renato Augusto and I also include Tranquillo Barnetta here.  As coach you cannot do much wrong, they all quality players.  But I will have to communicate a lot, as 3 players are going to be disappointed every matchday to not have made the starting line-up.  This does not exclude anyone.

Question: Closed training sessions are new to us, where will it take place and how secret is it going to be?

Robin Dutt: Either on the training pitch or in the BayArena.  I am surprised about the repercussions of this measure, especially at a time in which tactical innovations are praised so much in the press.  If I let the public watch our specific preparation for the upcoming opponent, I could also simply send my tactics to Thomas Tuchel for the Bundesliga opener and he would give us theirs.  The scouts would have no need to travel.  If we obtain information and try to implement something for an upcoming match, then our game plan needs to be protected.

Question: Can you talk a bit about André Schürrle…

Robin Dutt: He is now in a better shape after an exhaustion dip following the first weeks.  Against Genk he showed his immense qualities, we are currently very happy with him.


I predict this line-up, you can count in 1-2 deviations.

Line-up Dresden (from Kicker):

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Epic Fail in front of goal by Marcel Heller (previous matchday)

Dresden Fans (previous matchday)

Bayer Legend Ulf Kirsten will have a divided heart in this match.  He made his first steps at Dresden and then joined Leverkusen after the Berlin wall came down.  His son Benjamin Kirsten (goalkeeper) currently plays for Dynamo but is injured and therefore out for this game.

As usual we will have the Mundilev Chat during the match. Join, it’s free!

Friendly: Bayer Leverkusen vs Glasgow Rangers 2:0

Leverkusen won 2:0 against the Glasgow Rangers in Telgte, the goals were scored by Barnetta and Ballack.

Hanno Balitsch started as captain, while Michael Ballack took the lead in the 2nd half.  It was a surprise that the reelected Rolfes did not receive the armband when he came in with one hour played.

Barnetta and Schürrle produced a lot of opportunities on the wings for the Werkelf.  The new goalkeeper Yelldell did show some minor insecurities over his 90 minutes spin.  It will be interesting to see how Dutt reacts to Adler’s injury.  I would let Yelldell play the German Cup games and Giefer both Bundesliga and Champions League.  The young german goalkeeper is talented and needs every chance to grow.

Schwaab missed yesterday’s friendly, as he still is suffering from some minor muscular inconveniences that arose in the training camp in Austria.  Why Bastian Oczipka was not called up is not known.

Robin Dutt after the game

“This was probably our best game in this pre-season and better than against Salzburg as the opponent was much stronger today. The only negative aspect was that we should have made more out of our chances. But I am very satisfied, especially about our ball recovery, management of possessions and superiority in the air. It was also positive that despite many substitutions, we kept our organization.”


Ballack for Balitsch (46 min.)
Sam for Schürrle (46 min.)
Kießling for Derdiyok (46 min.)
Rolfes for Renato (61 min.)
M.Friedrich for Reinartz (66 min.)
Da Costa for Bender (76 min.)
Jørgensen for Castro (76 min.)

1:0 Barnetta (13 min.)
2:0 Ballack (78 min. penalty)

Video Highlights:

Champions League Flair in Telgte, population: 19.000

Takko Stadium in Telgte

David Yelldell

Capitano Ballack

More photos @


Results of election for captaincy 2011/12:

1st Captain: Simon Rolfes
2nd Captain: René Adler
Player’s council: The above mentioned + Michael Ballack,Manuel Friedrich and Hanno Balitsch