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Hofmann’s game with the pressure: “There’s a lot at stake for Cologne”

Ahead of the Rhineland clash, Bayer’s Jonas Hofmann sees 1. FC Köln under pressure. The lack of goals from the center forward doesn’t worry him

The question of pressure will certainly be asked often in the coming weeks. Regardless of whether Bayer stumble or not. With an eight-point lead over FC Bayern, it remains to be seen whether the team can really grab the championship trophy or whether they will squander their great opportunity.

Before the Rhineland clash at 1. FC Köln, Leverkusen attacker Jonas Hofmann was not asked about the pressure issue – and made it clear that he sees the pressure to act on the relegation-threatened neighbors next Sunday. “For Cologne,” he said after Tuesday’s training session, “there’s a lot at stake. For us too, of course, but I think it’s clear that Cologne are under pressure and we want to play with our control of the game, our ball security and our self-confidence as we have done for large parts of this season. ”

Against Mainz last Friday, the league leaders were only partially successful for a change – apart from a good first quarter of an hour, the Werkself were not really able to play their typical possession soccer. And still won 2:1 in the end

“Don’t let things get hectic “

Whoever wins games like this has what it takes to be a champion, they say. However, Bayer are known to want to stay as far away from such mind games as possible and keep a cool head, which is likely to become even more important on Sunday. “In a derby,” said Hofmann, “there’s always a lot of excitement, emotion and adrenaline. But those who have been involved for a long time know what’s important. It’s all about keeping calm, largely ignoring everything else, focusing on your game, your plan, not letting things get hectic and striking at the right moment. ”

The 31-year-old is currently finding this much more difficult than in the outstanding first half of the season. Amine Adli has slotted into the team well since his return from the Africa Cup and made the most of his opportunity, while Hofmann has started from the bench several times recently and was recently substituted after 56 minutes against Mainz. In addition, Bayer professionals have scored from very different parts of the team in recent weeks – only one classic center-forward goal has been missing since December 20 and the 4-0 win against VfL Bochum

Missing center-forward goals not a problem

Patrik Schick had scored three times at the time. Since then, however, the Czech, who had previously been out injured for months, has been waiting for a taste of success, as has new winter signing Borja Iglesias – top scorer Victor Boniface is still working on his comeback following a muscle tendon injury in his right adductor area. “Of course,” Hofmann explained, “it’s always good for strikers or attacking players when they score. Nevertheless, it’s about winning the games.” So if Bayer won every game, he says with a smile on his face, “and only defenders scored, that would be fine with me”.

Take it easy – that’s probably his message. After all, things are going extremely well. The Werkself have now been unbeaten in a historic 33 (!) competitive matches, winning and winning. And they have mastered the game with the pressure exceptionally well, at least so far

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