Leverkusen is still in holiday mode

Karim Bellarabi stood on the pitch for less than seven minutes, when the working day for the former international was already over. After a rude entry against Munich’s Rafinha, the Leverkusen wing forward saw the red card (80th) from referee Tobias Welz – apparently frustrated by the threat of defeat and his existence as a bench pusher. The fact that the Brazilian FCB defender had to be carried off the pitch in tears once again encouraged Uli Hoeneß to make a verbal all-around attack.

“Of course, Bellarabi’s foul was mentally ill,” said the president of FC Bayern. “Such a thing is deliberate bodily injury”. In the eyes of the 66-year-old Bellarabi, who apologized for the action in the social media on Sunday, Bellarabi would not have to be banned for three months because of the foul, but “for stupidity”. Rafinha will now be missing several weeks for the Champions League participant with an ankle joint injury. Leverkusenes Sports Director Rudi Völler naturally assessed the action differently. The foul itself was stupid, but not a red card. Sports director Jonas Boldt emphasized that the scene was not decisive for the game.

At least on this point, the three officials must have been in agreement. The record champion dominated Leverkusen at will, regardless of the number of players on the pitch. In the end, the visitors were lucky to have lost only 1:3 (1:2). “Our mentality was good at the beginning,” said Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich – and can only have meant the first five minutes. Because in these the Werkself played itself a Handelfmeter, which Wendell transformed to 1:0 for the outsider (5.). Munich were the only players left to set the tone, and the Leverkusen wall tactics, with seven defensive players in the starting line-up to ensure safety, failed. Corentin Tolisso, who left the field in the first half due to a knee injury that later turned out to be a cruciate ligament rupture, managed to equalise (10th). Nine minutes later Arjen Robben had turned the game around in favour of the home side after a serious mistake by Jonathan Tah.

Arjen Robben

Corentin Tolisso Honours

Bayern Munich

  • Bundesliga: 2017–18
  • DFL-Supercup: 2017, 2018


  • FIFA World Cup: 2018


  • UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2016–17

The Werkself acted insecure, unfocused and driving in the actions. She was lucky that FCB striker Robert Lewandowski did not get a good day and the other Bayern pros around Thomas Müller and Co. also missed the chance to decide the unequal duel early. So substitute James Rodriguez was denied the right to make the decision by head in the 89th minute.

Leverkusen captain Lars Bender, who had to be replaced due to knee problems (27th), spoke plainly after another desolate team performance. “We gave them the first two goals, you can’t afford anything like that in Munich,” the 29-year-old complained. “That was despondent and without self-confidence. The defensive midfielder fears that the next few weeks will be difficult for the last player in the standings. “After today’s game, there’s nothing to talk beautifully about. That wasn’t a performance,” Bender stressed, who, like the spectators, couldn’t remember any situation in which the factory eleven brought “three, four balls in a row” to the game. “And of course that’s too little.”

The fact that the encounter remained open for a long time despite the obvious inferiority of the guests did not seem to have been discussed up to the Werkself. The captain also had this feeling. “Until shortly before the end it was 2:1, and I did not really have the impression that we knew that. He now hopes to set a sign at the start of the Europa League on Thursday in Bulgaria with Ludogorez Rasgrad (21 o’clock). “That’s when the season really starts again for us. We have to show a reaction to the first games and win if possible. Then you have to talk early about a final against Mainz,” said Bender, who thinks the Werkself are “still on holiday”.

Herrlich then also focused on the upcoming task on the international stage and said: “We have a difficult situation, the boys are not exactly blessed with self-confidence”. Boldt had a rather pragmatic suggestion as to how the works club could free itself from the current misery. “Winning games. There is no other solution,” said the 36-year-old. There are plenty of chances – three English weeks will follow. Betstars offers big promotions to the new players.