Leverkusen, ’Gladbach dig deep for wins


Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - Page 11

Bayer 04 Leverkusen are not known for giving their coaches an easy ride.

Heiko Herrlich endured a frustrating night on his competitive debut on Friday before three goals in extra-time finally secured his side’s progress 3-0 against third-division Karlsruher SC in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.

“It cost a lot of nerves, but we persevered,” Herrlich said.

He was appointed in the off-season to lead Leverkusen back among the sides playing European soccer after the side flirted with relegation last season.

Herrlich was clearly unhappy as Karlsruhe kept his side scoreless in the first 90 minutes.

Substitute Joel Pohjanpalo should have won it in injury-time, but he missed from close range.

Dominik Kohr finally made the breakthrough minutes into extra-time with a header to Julian Brandt’s free-kick. Pohjanpalo then made up for his earlier miss and Leon Bailey gave the score a flattering look with his first competitive goal for the side.

Borussia Moenchengladbach also needed to dig deep to win against Rot-Weiss Essen 2-1.

The visitors had an uphill task when captain Benjamin Baier headed the fourth-tier side into a first-half lead, and the Bundesliga side’s frustrations grew as Essen sat back and defended in numbers in the second half.

Jonas Hofmann finally equalized at the second attempt, just minutes after going on as a substitute.

Raffael scored the winner.

Elsewhere, Dynamo Dresden beat fourth-tier side TuS Koblenz 3-2 thanks to Markus Schubert saving a late penalty, while Holstein Kiel came from behind to defeat second-division rival Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 after defender Joseph Baffo was sent off for conceding the penalty from which Kiel equalized.



Last season’s surprise package OGC Nice on Friday suffered their second setback of the Ligue 1 campaign, falling 2-1 at home to promoted ESTAC Troyes to dampen confidence ahead of next week’s Champions League play-off against SSC Napoli.

The Riviera outfit, third last season, but beaten 1-0 by AS Saint-Etienne in their opener, were without their two star players, the injured Mario Balotelli and new Dutch signing Wesley Sneijder, who watched from the stands.

Manager Lucien Favre said that neither would be fit for the away trip to Italy on Wednesday.

“They are not ready. Wesley still has a few days or weeks of preparation. Mario is returning form a hamstring injury. At best he should be on the bench Wednesday,” Favre said.

Elsewhere, Olympique Lyonnais built on last weekend’s 4-0 thumping of RC Strasbourg Alsace with a 2-1 victory over Rennes at the Stadede la Route de Lorient.