Category Archives: Sidney Sam

Game Report: Bundesliga, Fixture 15, Bayer Leverkusen vs TSG Hoffenheim 2:0

Goals from Eren Derdiyok and Sidney Sam gave Bayer Leverkusen a routine 2-0 victory over Hoffenheim at the BayArena on Friday evening.

The Swiss striker gave the hosts an early lead, while his 23-year-old teammate ensured the three points 10 minutes from time.

The hosts had already tested Tom Starke twice through Andre Schurrle and Eren Derdiyok, before the latter put his side into the lead after just 11 minutes. A long-range strike from Schurrle found its way to Derdiyok, who continued his good form by heading his team ahead.

Eager to strike back quickly, Gylfi Sigurdsson sent in an effort from distance, but the Icelandic international’s shot was too high and left Bernd Leno untested.

The visitors failed to trouble the young German goalkeeper for the rest of the first half, and failed to come out for the second half with any sort of attacking threat.

As the match wore on, Sam, who had earlier missed a great chance, latched on Stefan Kiessling’s flick-on to send a fantastic lob over Starke and ensure his side emerged with all three points.

Bastian Oczipka missed a great opportunity to make it three just minutes after coming off the bench, while Leno was forced into an impressive save by Marvin Compper in the dying minutes – but in the end the score remained 2-0.

This results sees Leverkusen remain in sixth, level on points with fifth-placed Schalke. Meanwhile, Hoffenheim slips to 10th.

Source: Goal.com

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

Substitutions Leverkusen
68 min. Rolfes for Derdiyok
73 min. Reinartz for Ballack
85 min. Oczipka for Sam

Substitutions Hoffenheim
59 min. Musona for Johnson
73 min. Ibisevic for Mlapa
80 min. Schipplock for Sigurdsson

Yellow cards: Castro and Derdiyok (both Leverkusen); Babel and Salihovic (both Hoffenheim)

Goals:
1:0 Derdiyok (10 min.)
2:0 Sam (79 min.)

Statistics Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim
Posession: 51 % vs 49 %
Shots: 11 vs 6
Fouls: 14 vs 30
Corners: 4 vs 7
Offsides: 3 vs 6
Distance covered (km): 116 vs 114

Videos uploaded by third party with no link to Mundilev.tk. We assume no responsibility for it!

or here>> Rutube.ru: Recap  First Half + Second Half

Lenomenal is staying with us for good

Ballack best friend

Sam celebrating his goal with Kiessling

M.Friedrich post-game: WTF?

More photos>> 1904-online.de

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 Bayer04.de  😉

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)

Goals:
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

Standings:
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)

Videos uploaded by third party with no link to Mundilev.tk. We assume no responsibility for it!

or here (5 min. better quality)>> rutube.ru

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: Goal.com / Dw-World.com

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)

Goals:
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

Videos uploaded by third party with no link to Mundilev.tk. We assume no responsibility for it!

or here>> Videa.hu

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.

Review of individual performances and new transfers

Club boss Wolfgang Holzhäuser said this week in an interview on Bayer04-TV that the first stage of the squad planning for the next season has finalized. Additional transfers could happen if injuries occur or the new coach Robin Dutt sees in the preseason a need to improve a certain position.

However, according to the German Press we have no further room for investments into our squad.  The guaranteed sum of around 20 million euros for playing the group-stage of the Champions League is already used up.  The transfer of Schürrle (8-10 million euros), the stadium upgrade (costs: around 80 million euros, financed by a 0% interest loan from the Bayer AG), contract extensions and generous investments in new players at times where the Werkself did not play internationally could mean that we will not see further spectacular signings this summer apart from André Schürrle.  

Transfer Balance
negative= Expenditure in Transfers > Income from Transfers
positive=
Income from Transfers > Expenditure in Transfers

currently Season 2011/12: -10.200.000 €
Season 2010/11: +850.000 € (Winter-Sale of Helmes turned balance positive)
Season 2009/10: -4.950.000 €
Season 2008/09: -7.050.000 €
Season 2007/08: -7.180.000 €
Season 2006/07: +8.270.000 €
Season 2005/06: +1.565.000 €
Season 2004/05: +11.986.000 €
<<W.Holzhäuser substitutes R.Calmund as CEO with the objective to reduce the accumulated debt during our great years>>
Season 2003/04: -1.200.000
Season 2002/03: -13.450.000 € (relegation was avoided in the last fixture)
Season 2001/02: -2.150.000 € (3x 2.place)

More details>> Transfermarkt.de 

Find below a personal review on the individual season performances of the current squad and new signings; players that will continue on loan or be sold; or have left us this year.

Legend

Red= player leaving us
Green= new signing
Blue= future uncertain

Rating= from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).  

RB= right-back
CB= centre-back
LB= left-back
DM= defensive midfield
RM= right midfield
LM= left midfield
OM= offensive midfield (central)
ST= striker

CURRENT SQUAD AND NEW SIGNINGS

GOALKEEPERS

René Adler: Overall steady from beginning to end with not many point losing mistakes.  Spectacular saves from him have been rare this season compared to other years.  Should extend his contract (running till 2012) in the next 2-3 weeks. *7*

Fabian Giefer: Did a good job when René Adler was out in two Bundesliga and two Europa League games. Good prospects for the future! *6*

Benedikt Fernandez: Played for the reserve team, will move to a 2.Bundesliga team. (contract expires) *no rating*

Tomasz Bobel: No match practice, will leave us too (contract expires). *no rating*

We will need to sign a third goalkeeper or promote one from the youth team.

DEFENSE

Gonzalo Castro (RB,LB,LM): Seems to perform at a higher level in midfield, where ball losses and poor positioning are less noticeable. His three goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga, show his offensive potential. *7*

Daniel Schwaab (RB,CB): Was stronger this season in the centre-back position than as right-back. His change of position arose due to Hyypiä’s declining physical form. Great at initiating attacks from defense (can run forward with the ball and play a difficult pass). A quality which Stefan Reinartz and Manuel Friedrich lack. *7*

Stefan Reinartz (CB,DM): Not dynamic enough for the centre-back position, although he improved in the second part of the season. However, quick and agile strikers will continue to have it easy against him. Better off in defensive midfield. *4*

Manuel Friedrich (CB): Had a good stretch of games before the winter break. A shoulder injury made him miss most of the second part of the season. Given his age (32 in August) little room for physical improvement (slow). *5*

Sami Hyypiä (CB): It was an honor to have such a great player in our team. His second season at Bayer 04 was marked by an injury before the winter-break followed by a declining physical form during the rest of the season. Sami decided to renounce his last year of contract as he did not feel confident on playing another season at the level he would like to.  The Finnish player will use next season to obtain his coaching license.  He will work as an assistant to Finland’s national coach Mika-Matti Paatelainen and undergo trainee-ships at different clubs including Bayer 04. In 2012/13 he will join the Werkself as assistant coach for at least two years. *6*

Ömer Toprak (CB): New signing for Leverkusen coming from Freiburg. We have been following this centre-back the last three years.  A severe karting accident at the beginning of 2009 stopped his progression, he was out for over six months.  It took quite a while till he reached the level before the incident, 2010 was surely not his year.   In 2011 he had four decent games over the full distance, but once the news got out that he would move to Leverkusen, his performances dropped again.  Ömer finished the season with a red card, that did not allow him to play the season finale against Bayer 04. *4*

Michal Kadlec (LB,LM): Improved in comparison to last season, but never regained the level of his first year with Bruno Labbadia. Linked with Liverpool in the last months. *7*

Bastian Oczipka (LB,LM): This Bayer youngster has been on loan for three years, first at Hansa Rostock and then St.Pauli. In both clubs he was part of the starting line-up and therefore added 82 league games on both loan spells. Bastian played a great Bundesliga season but suffered a bone injury in the 23rd fixture which put an end to it. He is considered as one of the uprising German talents on the left back position together with Marcel Schmelzer (Dortmund) and Felix Bastians (Freiburg). With his return to Leverkusen, Kadlec will finally have the chance to receive a rest when needed.  As mentioned above he could also be the replacement for the Czech player in case of a transfer to Liverpool.  The initial report of Bild that Oczipka would be sold to Hoffenheim for 3 million Euros was false, the player confirmed his return last week in an interview. *7*

Domagoj Vida (RB,CB): Played only one Bundesliga and eight Europa League games. Solid on the defensive end, Domagoj should concentrate on improving his game going forward, especially passing and centers. Despite having some experience as centre-back in his previous team NK Osijek, Jupp Heynckes did not consider him for this position mainly because of his height (1,82 m), a factor he considers important. If Robin Dutt thinks the same will have to be seen. I expect him to break-through next season, considering that his first year was also marked by the adaptation to a new environment (did not speak any word of English or German when he arrived). *4*

Danny da Costa (RB,CB,RM): The youth player gave a solid debut with the first team against Atletico Madrid. Physically strong and versatile, I hope he gets more minutes next season despite sitting his Baccalaureate. If you look at the current squad: only Adler, Castro and Reinartz have made themselves with a regular place in the team coming from the youth section of Bayer 04. Too little, for a club that is praised nationwide for its excellent work in this area. *no rating*

MIDFIELD

Arturo Vidal (DM, RB): The Chilean played an extraordinary season with ten goals and nine assists in the league. It is no wonder that he has caught the attention of many big clubs (Bayern, Chelsea, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Inter/AC Milan…).  Known in the past for too many aggressive fouls and cards, Arturo has managed to finish the Bundesliga season with only four yellows and one yellow-red in 33 games. His contract expires in 2012 and he has so far rejected all contract extension offers. Both Holzhäuser and Völler said recently that he will play so or so next season with us. Is this just a way to increase the price tag or are we really going to hold onto him without seeing a buck next year if he continues to reject a contract extension and signs with another team? *10*

Sidney Sam (RM,LM): One of the best newcomers in the 1.Bundesliga.  Seven goals and three assists is a dream start for him in Germany’s highest division. Jupp Heynckes preferred him to play Robben style (strong left foot) on the right side, will Dutt too? *8*

Simon Rolfes (DM): Had a couple of good games (especially the one against Wolfsburg) when he came back from his injury but in the last matches of the season declined severely and was consequently taken out of the starting line-up. A large proportion of the Fans see him inadequate for the captain role, because he often fails to deliver in big games. They want to see Michael Ballack as captain. I personally doubt that Robin Dutt will have the “balls” to change the leadership in the team.  I would welcome it, but it’s a tough decision that can affect the atmosphere in the team!   *5*

Renato Augusto (RM,OM,LM): With six goals and six assists this was his best season at Leverkusen. Playing in a central position helped him to step-up his game. Renato has learned to minimize his ball losses by avoiding risky dribbling in situations that could lead to a counter-attack. His work against the ball has also improved *9*

Lars Bender (DM): Despite having strong competitors on his position (Rolfes, Vidal and Ballack) Lars played 26 Bundesliga games and fulfilled his role regularly. A player with great prospects for the future. *7*

Hanno Balitsch (RB,DM,CB): His signing was seen skeptical by many fans at the beginning but he quickly turned this around with his fighter nature on the pitch. Great versatile back-up player! *6*

Michael Ballack (DM/OM): Chased by injuries in 2010, he has given the team some stability in the last stretch of games. Hopefully we will see next season the real Ballack giving the team a lot of goals and assists! *6*

Kevin Kampl (DM): The twenty year-old Slovenian youth player did not get a chance to play with the professional team. Future uncertain! *no rating*

Burak Kaplan (RM,LM): Was loaned out to Greuther Fürth (2.Bundesliga) in the winter-break. Despite being technically gifted, he is not making the next step given his difficult character. Jupp Heynckes more than once criticized his attitude in the training sessions. Only played four games in the Europa League in which he did not convince. At Greuther Fürth he scored three goals (all by set-piece) but his loaning spell ended with a disciplinary suspension by coach Michael Büskens which made him return to Bayer 04 earlier than expected. Will be loaned out again or sold. *2*

Tranquillo Barnetta (RM,LM): Not a great year for last-season assist leader of the Werkself. Only two goals and two assists in 24 league games are poor stats for the Swiss national player. An injury made him miss most of the second part of the season. Every year there are rumours that he might leave us, looking at the signings of Schürrle and Bellarabi his future at Bayer 04 is again uncertain. *3*

André Schürrle (LM,RM,ST): Mainz’s success this season is mainly due to his impressive year (15 goals / 5 assists). The signing will cost us 8 to 10 million euros depending on our results. *10*

Karim Bellarabi (RM,ST): This German-Moroccan 21 year-old talent of Eintracht Braunschweig was chased by a few Bundesliga clubs this season including Dortmund and Hoffenheim. Personally I never have seen him play but from what I heard he is a very quick right midfielder/striker. This season he scored in the 3.Liga eight goals and gave sixteen assists in 35 games.  He comes on a free transfer. There has been no talk about loaning him out, so he is set to be another speedy alternative on the wings next to Sidney Sam and André Schürrle. *7*

ATTACK

Eren Derdiyok (ST): Some of his six goals in the league were a real beauty, but he will want to forget this season as quickly as possible. Especially his barren run between fixture 8 and 23 (872 minutes) in which he did not score a single Bundesliga goal. Needs to improve his pressing on the rival defense and make more out of his chances.  Last week linked to FC Sevilla, I don’t think he will switch Champions League for Europa League *4*

Stefan Kießling (ST,RM): Best Werkself striker this season with seven goals and three assists. However Stefan could not confirm the great performance of last season. The long injury and formation change surely played a part but the blond striker also missed quite a lot of open chances on goal in the last games of the season which could have increased his account significantly. *5*

Nicolai Jörgensen (ST,LM,RM): While Domagoj Vida showed that he has potential, Nicolai in his nine Bundesliga and seven Europa League game did not display signs of quality. A season on loan could do him well. *2*

PLAYERS THAT WILL CONTINUE ON LOAN OR BE SOLD

Zvonko Pamic (RM,OM): He was signed last summer for 500.000 EUR from HNK Rijeka and directly loaned out to Freiburg. Despite playing a good Under-19 European Championship (3 goals and 1 assist) Robin Dutt only gave him a few minutes in two Bundesliga games. He will be loaned another year to MSV Duisburg (2.Bundesliga). *no rating*

Jens Hegeler (DM, RM,CB): Together with Bastian Oczipka the best performing Bayer 04 player on loan this season and partly responsible for Nuremberg’s success this year. He returned last summer to Leverkusen after a 1 ½ year loan spell at FC Augsburg (2.Bundesliga) and asked to be loaned out again considering that he will have it hard to obtain match practise with the signing of Michael Ballack.  Jens played all 34 Bundesliga games at Nuremberg scoring three goals and giving three assists. Although more a defensive midfielder, he has played several games on the right wing. His loan spell finishes in 2012, if Leverkusen decides to sell him Nuremberg has a preference purchase right. *7*

Lucas (CB): This 19 year-old talent is a ghost, as hardly any information is available on him.  More than a year ago Leverkusen’s scouts discovered Lucas in Brazil and decided to sign the tall center-back from Associação Portuguesa de Desportos (Sao Paulo).  Last summer, he was supposed to take part in the season preparation of the professional team and play in some friendlies. It did not happen.  In January 2011 he was sent on loan for 1 1/2 years to Kaiserslautern, where he did not play a single game nor sat on the bench this season.  The club from the Betzenberg was granted a purchase option.  *no rating*

Hajime Hosogai (DM,LB): Regarded in Japan as one of the best players of the J-League, Hajime had a hard time to find a spot on the starting line-up of Augsburg.  Only at the end of the season did he play a few games over the full distance. His loan spell ends in the June 2012. *3*

Thanos Petsos (RB,DM): The greek Under-21 player was loaned out this summer to Kaiserlautern. Normally a right-back in the youth teams of Bayer 04, he made himself with a place in the first eleven as defensive midfielder from Fixture 12 onwards. He will continue for another season at Kaiserlautern. *5*

Richard Sukuta-Pasu (ST): In his second season at St.Pauli, Richie continued to struggle.  He only got play 155 minutes in the Bundesliga (1 goal + 1 assist). His loan spell at St.Pauli ends this summer and Kaiserlautern seems to be keen on purchasing the striker. *1*

Constant Djakpa (LB,LM): Not more than a back-up player at Hannover. It is not expected that the German club will make use of the purchase option.  Bayer 04 is likely to sell him.  According to English news reports, Newcastle United is interested in the player. *2*

PLAYERS THAT LEFT US THIS SEASON

Patrick Helmes (ST): Was sold in the winter-break after disagreements with coach Jupp Heynckes over his standing in the team. Unsatisfied with the amount of minutes he got to play, the 1-striker tactical formation and the demands of doing more defensive work on the pitch, he switched to Wolfsburg for an initial fee of 5 million and 3 million euros in installments. Under coach Steve McClaren and later Felix Magath he did not manage to make an impact. Patrick only scored one goal in seven matches and was more a substitute than a starter. Magath declared in an interview that he should improve his physical condition. Personally, I am not a fan of Helmes (passive player) and think that if he wants to be successful in the future he will have to work on his weaknesses, something he has was not prepared to do in Leverkusen (kept complaining). *4*

Marcel Risse (RM,LM): The winger has grown at Mainz despite not being a regular starter. In 25 league games he scored 2 goals and gave 5 assists. Risse was loaned out at the beginning of this season and Mainz used the purchase option of 800.000 Euros to acquire him. The amount was initially higher but was then reduced in the negotiations for the Schürrle Transfer. *6*

THOUGHTS ON NEXT SEASON’S SQUAD & TACTICS

I like very much the idea of improving our wings with speedy players; this seems to be the objective with the transfers of André Schürrle and Karim Bellarabi. Under Heynckes the wingers were told to go inside and look for a finish or pass. With Robin Dutt as coach we can expect a few more centers from the goal line. The 1-striker formation (4-2-3-1) is likely to continue.  At Freiburg our new coach used successfully Cissé (22 goals) as lonely striker. Whether Kiessling or Derdiyok can deliver in similar fashion is a big question. Has it do with the tactics we played under Heynckes (not enough centres? too defensive?) that they had such a poor record or are both not made to play lonely in attack?

In the last days I have been thinking that selling Vidal would be not totally wrong.  If we really have no more room for further investments in our rather weak central defense, would it not make sense to let him leave for 20 million euros (to a foreign club, not Bayern!)? We would receive 70% of the transfer fee (Colo Colo 30%), 14 million euros and could replace for example Manuel Friedrich with a quality centre-back like Höwedes, Dante, Mertesacker.  Another option would be moving Reinartz into midfield to avoid having five centre-backs for two positions.

Hyypiä has led very well our defense in the last two years, I have my doubts that between Schwaab, Reinartz, M.Friedrich and Toprak a new leader can emerge who will coordinate our defensive line in a similar way. Against medium/bottom table teams this can be enough, but to make another step forward and play an even better season I see this configuration insufficient.

Looking forward to your comments, there is a lot to talk about 😉

Game Report: Bundesliga, Fixture 28, 1.FC Kaiserslautern vs Bayer Leverkusen 0:1

The Werkself continues winning and being the best team in this second half of the season.  Kaiserslautern played the match that Heynckes expected, but Bayer 04 knew how to respond.  We are no longer a team that just plays elegant football and gets intimidated of the opponent’s tackles.

Sam brought the winning goal with a wonderful volley after a wrong clearance by Trapp.  Not the first time he scores this way!  The defense showed itself again solid.

It’s the 4th consecutive win in the Bundesliga without conceding any goal.  Whenever Ballack played over the full distance (5 times this season), Adler kept his sheet clean and the Werkself won it’s game. 

The Champions League is so close!  This week we will face St.Pauli at home.  A team that will travel to Leverkusen with a lot of injured and suspended players.  An ideal chance to grab another 3 points before travelling to Munich. 

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

Substitutions Kaiserslautern
56 min. Hoffer for Nemec
60 min. Petsos for Bilek
76 min. Rivic for Hlousek

Substitutions Leverkusen
66 min. Kießling for Barnetta
71 min. L. Bender for Kadlec
90. + 4 min Jørgensen for Sam

Yellow Cards: Tiffert (Kaiserslautern); Ballack and Schwaab (both Leverkusen)

Goals:
0:1 Sam (74 min.)

Statistics Kaiserslautern vs Leverkusen
Posession: 40 % vs 60 %
Shots: 6 vs 10
Fouls: 23 vs 17
Corners: 3 vs 1
Offsides: 3 vs 2

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Sidney Sam’s Top 3 Goals so far for Bayer 04

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Renato Augusto missed the game against Kaiserlautern due to an hamstring injury.  It all happened in the last training session prior to the game.  No further information was published, so I believe he will be again available against St.Pauli.