Leverkusen had to come from behind to beat Darmstadt 2-1 on Matchday 21. - © © imago
Leverkusen had to come from behind to beat Darmstadt 2-1 on Matchday 21. - © © imago

Tah: 'It was brutally hard'

Bayer 04 Leverkusen were both exhausted and relieved to come away from SV Darmstadt 98 with all three points after a full-blooded battle which the hosts felt they deserved more from.

SV Darmstadt 98 1-2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Goals: 1-0 Wagner (28’), 1-1 Sulu OG (62’), 1-2 Brandt (77’)

Kevin Kampl (Leverkusen midfielder): "It was extremely hard, very tiring and I think we're all a bit exhausted. We knew we weren't playing how we wanted to in the first half, and we came out wanting to turn things around. Not many people can manage that here in Darmstadt as it's a hard place to come, but the league table looks nice for us now. I think we deserved the win in the end. A win like this can be extremely important for our season as it gives us self-confidence."

Jonathan Tah (Leverkusen defender): "It was a brutally hard game and a hard fight. It was extremely intense and tiring and we're delighted to be able to come away with the points. Of course we got a bit of self-confidence too. It was important that we got back to winning ways after losing [in the DFB Cup] on Tuesday."

Julian Brandt (Leverkusen midfielder): "It's great. We're all really happy that we've won because it wasn't at all easy, and these three points are going to do us the world of good. The funny thing about it all is that the coach said we didn't have to score a pretty goal, but in the end it was a pretty goal with a scrappy ending. It was scrappy and we could do without this kind of game every weekend, but we showed our quality."

Roger Schmidt (Leverkusen coach): "We're very happy to have won this difficult game. It was exactly how we expected it would be: a fight for every inch. It obviously became harder for us when they went in front, but we kept our cool in the second half and did a good job to level from a set-piece and then take the lead on a counterattack. It wasn't easy then to defend our lead, but we had that bit of luck we needed."

Dirk Schuster (Darmstadt coach): "Neither team gave an inch and everything went according to plan, really. We wanted to impose ourselves on Leverkusen with our tackling and limit their passing game and after we took the lead, we knew they were going to come back at us. Leverkusen were technically better than us, but we were always a bit better in the tackle so I don't think either side would have been worthy winners. But this is football – Leverkusen take the three points and we're left empty handed. But it was still a good performance against a Champions League participant, so we can be proud of our performance."

Sandro Wagner (Darmstadt forward): "I don't know if this is the bitterest defeat yet, but it certainly doesn't feel good. We would’ve deserved at least a point for this performance. But we leave the field with our heads held high. We've found our feet in the Bundesliga and are playing good football now, it just often it comes down to just the smallest of things in the Bundesliga."

Mario Vrancic (Darmstadt midfielder): "It's a really difficult defeat to stomach because we did so much right against strong opponents. We can be really proud of this performance. Maybe we made the wrong decision in a few situations and were punished for it, but we were so close today and we can certainly build on this. The conditions weren't good, but we just do the best we can."

Aytac Sulu (Darmstadt defender): "This was certainly an avoidable defeat. We started the game well and also took a deserved lead. We did a very good job against a top team, we were very solid and didn't let anything through, and then we conceded two unlucky goals."