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31.10.2021Bayer 04

#RoadtoGlasgow – On This Day: Bayer 04 vs Lyon 2-4 (1-2)

The defeat against the French league runners-up was not too painful as the Werkself were already qualified for the next round ahead of the game.
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Pre-match situation

The only issue left to settle was who would be the group winners. With Lyon, it was certain they would go through to the UEFA Cup is the third-placed team. Bayer 04 coach Klaus Toppmöller used the situation to rotate his team and give some key players the chance of a break. Jens Nowotny, Ulf Kirsten, Oliver Neuville and Michael Ballack were not in the squad. Carsten Ramelow and Yildiray Bastürk were on the bench. The starting eleven included back-up players Boris Zivkovic, Pascal Ojigwe, Jurica Vranjes and Thomas Brdaric.

The match

It was evident that Bayer 04 had never played with this line-up before. Little headway was made up front at the start and the attacks from the efficient French side exposed weaknesses at the back. Lyon took a surprising 2-0 lead with two goals from Carriere. Just before half-time, Zoltan Sebescen fired a free kick from 24 yards out into the top left corner. After the restart, the hosts improved and levelled on 52 minutes with a headed goal from Dimitar Berbatov. During the best phase for the Werkself, the clearest chances to take the lead were missed by Bernd Schneider and Thomas Brdaric. The porous Leverkusen defence again and again attracted counter-attacks from Lyon. Nee (64') and Govou (81') made the most of it with the two goals bringing a deserved 4-2 victory for the visitors.

Moments of the match

The rocket shot by Zoltan Sebescen to make it 2-1 was the best of the six goals on the night and also the first Champions League strike for the defender. Bernd Schneider almost scored an equally impressive goal with the score at 2-2 but his free kick went over the wall and just pass the right-hand post. The visitors netted their third goal shortly after that.

Man of the Match

Zoltan Sebescen not only scored a great goal but he was also involved in the leveller from Dimitar Berbatov with a perfect cross. The Werkself number 26 again and again became involved in attacks down the right flank and he also produced a decent performance in defence.

Reaction

Even though it was only "a dead rubber" (Reiner Calmund), coach Klaus Toppmöller was quite peeved after the 90 minutes: "It was terrible having to watch this back and to game from the bench. That's not how I imagine football, no passion, no enthusiasm, no grit and hardly any commitment." In contrast, the rested Carsten Ramelow could understand why players who had previously had little time on the pitch were unable to shine. "They first had to get used to each other on the pitch," said the Germany international.

What the papers say

There was also little appreciation in the press. "At times you needed to guard against the impression that the Germans and French had arranged a friendly," reported the Rheinische Post with the paper declaring in respect of the Leverkusen second eleven: "Convincing applications in relation to a permanent slot in the first line-up did not land on the coach's desk." The Kölnische Rundschau, alluding to the day of the game 31 October, identified a "hint of Halloween". And the journal continued: "This amateurish performance was a bit of a horror show." The French newspaper Le Monde were happy that Lyon had won "a final battle of honour."

Match stats

Bayer 04: Butt – Sebescen, Lucio, Zivkovic, Placente – Schneider, Ojigwe (Bastürk 46’), Vranjes, Zé Roberto – Berbatov (Daun 72’), Brdaric

Lyon: Coupet – Chanelet, Müller, Laville – Deflandre, Juninho (Govou 68’), Linares, Delmotte, Laigle, Carriere (Violeau 77’) – Nee

Goals: 0:1 Carriere (32.), 0:2 Carriere (38.), 1:2 Sebescen (45+2.), 2:2 Berbatov (52.), 2:3 Nee (64.), 2:4 Govou (81.)

Booked: Sebescen – Müller, Laigle

Chances ratio: 8:8

Shots at goal: 21:16; on target: 9:10

Corners: 8:3

Referee: Valentin Ivanov (Russia)

Attendance: 22,500

Matchday images

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Support

The fans at the BayArena did not allow the atmosphere to be spoiled even if their team definitely have not had their best day. Progress to the next round had been achieved. The Black and Reds supporters sang and danced in celebration in the stands and taunted the neighbours from the other side of the Rhine. 

State of play: Group F

Barcelona won their game at home to Fenerbahce 1-0 with a goal from Rivaldo in added time to finish top of the group on 15 points ahead of Bayer 04 with 12 points. Lyon qualified for the next round of the UEFA Cup as the third-placed team. Fenerbahce were bottom of the group with no points. The next match for Bayer 04 in the second group stage was an away game at Juventus on 29 November.

 

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