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13.09.2022Champions League

Impressive Werkself beat Atletico Madrid 2-0

Bayer 04 beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 in their first UEFA Champions League home game for two years. Gerardo Seoane’s side battled from start to finish and regularly created chances, but it remained goalless after 45 minutes. The visitors sat back even more after the break as the Werkself racked up the chances before Robert Andrich struck in the 84th minute. Moussa Diaby then rounded things off three minutes later when teed up by Jeremie Frimpong.
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Seoane made two changes from the team that drew 2-2 away at Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday. The injured Exequiel Palacios was replaced by Andrich in midfield, while Odilon Kossounou started at right-back in place of Frimpong in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The coach had called for “resolute tackling, quick passing and good switching of sides” in both penalty areas during his press conference yesterday. It was a plan the Werkself carried out well, especially in the first half.

Tackles and attacking impetus

Jonathan Tah & Co. looked courageous from the first minute in defence, pressed early and enjoyed plenty of possession. It took just seven minutes for Leverkusen to carve out the first chances. Piero Hincapie got past Nahuel Molina and crossed to Adam Hlozek before Andrich had a go from range.

The 25,528 spectators inside the BayArena witnesses an even game at the start. It took Atletico over 20 minutes to find a way through the Werkself backline, and they thought they had a penalty when claiming Edmond Tapsoba handled while trying to clear a cross. Referee Michael Oliver originally pointed to the spot before VAR intervened to decide there was no wrong doing.

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Kerem Demirbay and Hlozek had further opportunities but were unable to make a breakthrough. Diego Simeone’s side posed a threat again after the half-hour mark when Joao Felix got past Andrich but not Hlozek on the edge of the box as it remained goalless at the break.

Werkself rewarded at the end

Leverkusen tried to continue where they left off going into the second half. It took Seoane’s men just three minutes to create a double chance when Diaby found Patrik Schick in the centre, but he struck the crossbar with only goalkeeper Ivo Grbic to beat. The ball bounced back into play and landed at Hlozek, but his header then struck the left post.

Bayer 04 were now spending more time in the opposition half and pushing for a winner. Their best chance of the game so far again fell to Schick on 70 minutes when he chased down an attempted clearance, beat Axel Witsel and Mario Hermoso before rounding Grbic, but Felipe slid in at the decisive moment to block.

It was all Leverkusen in the closing stages. With six minutes to go, substitute Frimpong set off on a determined run. Despite being held, he kept going and teed up Andrich in the centre, who picked out the bottom left corner for a deserved lead. 

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Although they were now ahead, the Werkself didn’t sit back to try and see the result home. Callum Hudson-Odoi won the ball back and Frimpong was again away down the right towards the Atletico goal. He picked up out Diaby keeping up through the middle, who only had to turn the ball home to round off a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win.

Another home game

The Werkself are again in action at the BayArena on Saturday, 17 September when they host Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga at 15:30 CEST. The next European action isn’t until after the international break when Seoane takes his side to Porto on Tuesday, 4 October.

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Hradecky – Hincapie, Tapsoba (Bakker 89'), Tah, Kossounou – Demirbay (Amiri 90'), Andrich – Hudson-Odoi, Hlozek (Frimpong 69'), Diaby (Azmoun 89') – Schick (Aranguiz 89')

Atletico Madrid: Grbic – Molina (Griezmann 96'), Felipe, Witsel, Hermoso, Reinildo – Llorente, Koke, Niguez (De Paul 45') – Morata (Cunha 73'), Joao Felix (Correa 73')

Goals: 1-0 Andrich (84'), 2-0 Diaby (87')

Referee: Michael Oliver (England)

Yellow cards: Kossounou, Tah, Andrich 

Attendance: 25,825

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