The fixture list appeared to have been unkind to Frankfurt on their first day back in the big time after a year's absence, but they mastered the challenge with aplomb. Their coach, an experienced hand at this level, knows just how important such a victory can be.
Fortune favours the brave
Veh led Stuttgart to the title in 2007 and while Frankfurt will not be getting carried away with a win which took them into a share of top spot, the performance augurs well for the next nine months. "At the end of the day, I am delighted that we have been rewarded for a courageous performance," said Veh. "It was very difficult to defend today since Leverkusen were incredibly dangerous in attack. Sometimes they had six or seven men around our penalty area and that also explains why we conceded one or two too many chances. But we had good opportunities as well."
Leverkusen took the lead through in the first half, but Frankfurt's never-say-die attitude enabled them to turn things around after the break. Veh acknowledged that luck had also played its part, though. "If they had gone 2-0 up early in the second half when they had the chance to, then we wouldn't have got back into the game," he conceded. "But our fans carried us and we continued to create chances and then the goals fell at the right times."
Creating chances was certainly not a problem for Leverkusen, but making the most of them was. According to joint coach Sascha Lewandowski, they wanted the points so much that this paradoxically caused them to stiffen up in front of goal. "The lads had such high hopes and were desperate for a win," he said. "But we were overzealous. Over the 90 minutes, we lacked the necessary poise and calmness far too often. That was our biggest flaw."
The main lesson he and fellow coach Sami Hyypiä will learn from Saturday was that their team have the quality, they just need to know how to dose it. "We were too hasty in possession," added Lewandowski. "We ran offside far too often when we should have been cleverer. Unfortunately, this overzealousness has cost us the points today." Leverkusen have a week to rectify that before welcoming SC Freiburg to the BayArena next Saturday.