For a long time, trips to Wolfsburg invariably ended in disappointment for Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The club failed to pick up a single point from their six Bundesliga visits to VfL’s former home, the Stadion am Elsterweg, including one particular match on 19 December 2001 when they travelled to Wolfsburg as league leaders. As was the case nearly 22 years ago, Bayer are sitting pretty at the top of the table ahead of the teams’ latest clash at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday 21 October (kick-off 15:30 CEST).
Tomislav Maric stole the show in the Wolves’ 3-1 victory back in December 2001. Now based near Split and working as a personal trainer, the 50-year-old Croat looks back on a tricky encounter under the Elsterweg lights, which took place at a time when VfL often struggled for consistency.
Tomislav Maric, you made history at home to Bayer Leverkusen in the 2001/02 season by scoring your fourth successive double, something no Bundesliga player had managed since Lothar Emmerich in 1966/67. Were you aware of your achievement at the time?
Maric: “No, not at all. It was only afterwards, when it was brought up in the media, that I truly became aware that nobody had managed it in so many years. I was really happy too, but more importantly we managed to end the year on a high. We had certain problems in the first half of the season, but we went on a proper run towards the end.”