14.09.2016Champions League

Werkself share points in Champions League opener

Bayer 04 start the Champions League campaign with a 2-2 draw against Russian champions CSKA Moscow. An impressive start and deserved 2-0 lead with goals from Admir Mehmedi (9') and Hakan Calhanoglu (16') were cancelled out by two goals from the visitors late in the first half.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

Roger Schmidt had to make one change to the team that secured a 3-1 victory in Saturday's Bundesliga home game against Hamburg SV. Karim Bellarabi missed the first Champions League game of the season following the injury he suffered against Hamburg. He was replaced in the starting eleven by Julian Brandt.

From the start of the game it was clear Schmidt's team were determined to take all three points on the night. Playing a pressing, attacking game Bayer 04 hemmed in the visitors from Moscow in their own box. With eight minutes on the clock Mehmedi reaped the reward for the attacking efforts of the hosts. A pass from Benjamin Henrichs, deflected by Calhanoglu, found the Switzerland international in the box and he made no mistake as he calmly slotted the ball into the far corner of the net leaving the visiting keeper Igor Akinfeev without a chance.

Hakan doubles lead

Calhanoglu doubled the lead just seven minutes later: After some good work from Kevin Kampl the Turkey international unleashed a left-foot shot from the edge of the box that was deflected into the corner of the net. There was joy unbounded at the corner flag in front of the West Stand.

The Werkself continue to assert themselves on the game. There was little sign of resistance from CSKA Moscow as Bayer 04 pressed forward: an immaculate pass from Brandt found Wendell on the edge of the box but Akinfeev was able to make the save on 27 minutes. And Mehmedi missed two chances from ten yards out on 36 minutes.

Two blows in quick succession

The Russian side counter-attacked against an advanced Werkself to create their first real chance of the match. A ball to the CSKA winger Aleksei Ionov unluckily bounced over the foot of Jonathan Tah allowing Alan Dzagoev to nip in and slip the ball into the net past the advancing Bernd Leno on 37 minutes. And worse was to come: Lacina Traoré put the ball into the Bayer 04 box and a Roman Eremenko slipped the ball through Leno's legs on 38 minutes. The Werkself were visibly shaken as the half-time whistle went.

The second half was similar to the first. Schmidt brought on Joel Pohjanpalo and Charles Aránguiz in place of Calhanoglu and Chicharito. The Werkself pressed forward unremittingly in the direction of Akinfeev's goal as the Russian champions focussed on not conceding any more goals. The first chance fell to Brandt when he was unmarked in the box but he failed to find the target on 46 minutes. Pohjanpalo also missed out on 62 minutes as did Kevin Volland with a flying header on 79 minutes. As the game went on it became more disjointed and both sides lost their accuracy in passing.

Typical of the evening: The skipper Lars Bender injured his thigh in a challenge and had to go off shortly after the restart. The introduction of Volland meant Schmidt used his full complement of substitutes early on. The game ended in an unrewarding 2-2 draw.

The next game for the Werkself in this busy run of fixtures is in the Bundesliga: On Saturday (15.30 CET) Bayer 04 visit Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of games against FC Augsburg and Mainz 05. The next game in the Champions League is on 27 September at the Stade Louis II against AS Monaco. Tickets for the match are available from Thursday morning at 10.00 CET.

Match stats:

Bayer 04: Leno – Henrichs, Tah, Toprak, Wendell – Bender (Volland 51’), Kampl – Brandt, Calhanoglu (Aránguiz 46’), Mehmedi – Chicharito (Pohjanpalo 46’).

CSKA Moscow: Akinfeev – Fernandes, V. Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov – Wernbloom, Dzagoev – Ionov (Milanov 78’), Eremenko, Golovin (A. Berezutski 90’) – Traoré (Strandberg 73’).

Goals: 1-0 Mehmedi (9’), 2-0 Calhanoglu (16’), 2-1 Dzagoev (36’), 2-2 Eremenko (38’).

Booked: Wendell, Henrichs.

Attendance: 23,459.

Referee: Orsato (Italy).

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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