The national German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” puts it right on the money by writing: Mainz is not Manchester.
An obvious statement meaning: a little city, which is famous for its carnival, for Johannes Guttenberg, the inventor of modern printing, and certainly not for its Bundesliga football club, which is nothing compared to the metropolitan area in North West England with one of the richest and most successful clubs in the world.
Germany’s Frankfurt-based paper suggests that the differences were very evident for Bayer Leverkusen. It had to be. After they got beaten 4-2 they went on to a well coached FSV Mainz to rout them 1-4.
1-4? That looks like the exact score of last Sunday’s derby between City and United. The different outcome might be: After the Champions League match Manchester United FC rested on their laurels and Bayer Leverkusen heard their wake-up call.
Bayer Leverkusen could hope their Champions League beat down was just a freak result. In their last games, before they traveled to Old Trafford, they won 20 out of 26 and only last years match against FSVMainz was an upset.
One of the main reasons why Bayer Leverkusen is so successful is their manager, former Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia. His calm demeanour and his knowledge of the game are well respected in the locker room.
It furthermore helps the chemistry that he played three seasons of his 20-year-career in Leverkusen, where he took the field with footballers he now coaches.
Hyypia’s competitive style encouraged his team to get over their lost against the Red Devils. With a changed formation he activated the young Australian Robbie Kruse, who rewarded Hyypia’s move with two goals and one assist.
One will see how improved Bayer Leverkusen will be when they meet Manchester United FC again on November 27th. Sami Hyypia has yet to beat a big team under his management. Will it be Manchester United?
image: © Dmitry Neymyrok