23.10.2019Champions League

What the papers say: 'Good collective performance'

Bayer 04 did not pick up the desired points in the Champions League match at Atletico Madrid. The view of the media is the Werkself were not the weaker team in the clash with the Spanish league runners-up in spite of the 1-0 defeat.

‘Werkself on verge of exit' is the headline in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and their report reads: "The huge Wanda Metropolitano looks like a UFO in the San Blas district in the east of Madrid. The Atlético stadium, opened in 2017, looks futuristic from inside as well with its membrane roofing and multiple lighting effects. However, what happened on Tuesday night in Spain's capital was definitely down-to-earth. Atlético beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-0 with the minimum of effort. The Werkself did produce their best Champions League performance of the season but previous defeats against Lokomotiv Moscow (1-2) and Juventus (0-3) make the target of qualifying for the Round of 16 theoretical. 'It's disappointing. Even one point would have been a big step forward,' said Leverkusen's Spanish CEO Fernando Carro. 'But we carry on battling to go through as long as it is mathematically possible. Of course, the probability has receded a long way. It's more realistic to fight for third place.'"

"Courageous display"

The Kölnische Rundschau takes the following view: "In spite of a committed performance at Atlético Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen can practically forget qualifying for the Round of 16 in the Champions League. The team coached by Peter Bosz are bottom of Group D with no points after a 1-0 defeat to the Spanish league runners-up who posed little threat for much of the game. ... In front of 56,667 fans at the Wanda Metropolitano, the team lying ninth in the Bundesliga were determined to get a result from the start and put on a courageous display against Atlético. Julian Baumgartlinger (9') just missed the target from a promising position. With their usual aggressive pressing game, Leverkusen made life difficult for the Spanish league runners-up but lacked the necessary precision up front."

"Competed well for 78 minutes"

The Bild Zeitung declares: 'Leverkusen need miracle in the group'. The report continues: "Only a miracle can help now! Bayer lose 1-0 at Atlético Madrid and are defeated in the third Champions League game of the season – for the first time in the club's history. Going through to the knockout rounds now appears a distant prospect: In the history of the Champions League, only one team has gone through after losing the first three games: Newcastle United (2002/03). Leverkusen competed well for 78 minutes at the two-time finalists (2014 and 2016). Then came the substitute Morata to head the Spaniards to victory. ... After the catastrophic start in Frankfurt (two goals conceded in the first 17 minutes), Bayer looked much more solid and had five shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. Above all, the Bender twins cranked up the game playing as a duo on the left side of defence. Sven won all 14 challenges in the first half and his brother Lars impressed as a dynamo in the unusual position of left back."

The Rheinische Post highlights the fact the Werkself were absolutely on equal terms with Atlético: "Leverkusen did not sit back, had long phases of possession and looked to take the game to the Atlético goal. The Bundesliga side did have to look out all the time to prevent giving the aggressive team, driven on by coach Diego Simeone on the touchline, too much room. ... Bayer's plan worked in the first half. Madrid had two or three situations that could have been dangerous but either a Leverkusen player was in the right spot at the right time or the rain-soaked pitch foiled the hosts. The first time Lukas Hradecky was forced into making a save was a rather weak effort from Renan Lodi (32'). After the restart, Leverkusen again produced a good collective performance but posed little threat up front."

"More attractive performance"

The verdict in the Kicker reads: "Bayer 04 Leverkusen are waiting for the first point in the Champions League after the third group match. In a game of few chances at Atlético Madrid, the Rhinelanders were on equal terms for much of the game but showed too little penetration in attack. At the other end, substitute Morata won the game for the Rojiblancos. ...The Rhinelanders produced the more attractive performance of the two teams and put together some impressive moves. However, there was a lack of penetration in the final third and too often Leverkusen failed to benefit from their superiority in midfield due to a lack of precision. The best example: Amiri failed to connect properly in a promising position after an excellent move with Volland (12')."




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