Ballack leads Bayer to win

German Football
By German Football August 15, 2011 06:03

Ballack leads Bayer to win

Ex-Germany captain Michael Ballack led Bayer Leverkusen to their first win of the season on Sunday as Czech midfielder Michal Kadlec’s late goal sealed a 1-0 win at home to Werder Bremen.

Last season’s German league runners-up have had a torrid time of late, throwing away a 3-0 lead at second division Dynamo Dresden two weeks ago in the German Cup to suffer a 4-3 defeat.

They were then beaten 2-0 at Mainz last weekend in the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season.

To add injury to insult, goalkeeper Fabian Giefer — who was filling in for injured Germany shot-stopper Rene Adler — was so badly concussed at Mainz that he suffered a complete memory blank.

Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt was forced to bring in teenage goalkeeper Bernd Leno from VfB Stuttgart as emergency cover, and the 19-year-old stood up to the task before Kadlec’s 85th-minute winner gave his side victory.

Ballack skippered Leverkusen for 83 minutes before he was replaced by regular Bayer captain Simon Rolfes who provided the final pass for Kadlec to score two minutes after coming off the bench.

“It was important for the team to get back to winning, because success makes it easier to work,” said Dutt.

“Michael asked to be replaced himself and he earned that right after a good performance.

“We had the perfect solution to the situation: Michael led from the front and Simon provided the goal.”

German Football
By German Football August 15, 2011 06:03
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