18.09.2021Bayer 04

#RoadtoGlasgow – OnThisDay: Lyon vs Bayer 04 0:1

20 years ago today, on 18 September 2001, Bayer 04 picked up the first three points on the #RoadToGlasgow: The Werkself beat Lyon 1-0 in a hard-fought encounter thanks to a goal from Ulf Kirsten.

Pre-match situation

Both teams started the group stage with a week’s delay. Matchday one, planned for 12 September, was postponed to 10 October due to the previous day’s terrorist attacks in the USA. Both Bayer 04 and Lyon had made a very good start in their respective league campaigns. The team under coach Klaus Toppmöller were still unbeaten after six matchdays and were second in the table on 14 points. Lyon were third in Ligue I after seven games with 16 points. The French club finished runners-up the previous season and they inflicted a 3-0 defeat on FC Bayern in the second group stage of the Champions League in March 2001. Lyon were on track to become the dominant team in French football and they went on to win the French league title in each of the following seven years. “Lyon are the most dangerous team in our group,” said Bayer 04 CEO Reiner Calmund before the start of the group stage.

The match

After a good start by the Werkself, the hosts increasingly took control of the game in front of a sell-out 37,000 crowd at the Stade Gerland. While Lyon created a lot of chances through Edmilson and Foe plus strikers Nee and, above all, Govou, Bayer 04 only created one big chance for Oliver Neuville in the first half. His unaimed shot was saved by the Lyon goalkeeper Coupet. The Werkself defend with a passion in the second 45 and then struck clinically on 75 minutes: Ulf Kirsten sealed a 1-0 win with goal number 38 on the European stage.

Moments of the match

Lucio’s duels with Lyon legend Sidney Govou, with the Brazilian mostly coming out on top, were amongst the highlights of the match. Solid at the back – also thanks to the impressive Jörg Butt in goal –and cool up front: A typical Ulf Kirsten strike won the match on 75 minutes when the ‘Schwatte’ slid into a waist-high cross from Zoltan Sebescen, just ahead of Edmilson, to prod the ball past Coupet into the back of the net.

Man of the match

Lucio frustrated Govou und Nee, the Lyon strikers, again and again. The tackling by the Brazilian defender was outstanding.


Goalkeeper Jörg Butt: “A clean sheet and an away win: What more can you want.” Coach Klaus Toppmöller: “That shows Ulf is a genuine goal-getter of high-calibre. He has one chance and he takes it.” Right-back Zoltan Sebescen: “I was pretty nervous. I had goose bumps when the anthem was being played before kick-off.”

What the papers say

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ): “There’s nobody else in German top-level football at the moment who has a better nose for a goal than Ulf Kirsten. The soon-to-be 36-year-old centre-forward secured a dream start for Bayer Leverkusen with the only goal of the game away to the French league runners-up Olympique Lyon.” Le Monde: “Since 1988, Lyon and their Gerland Stadium did not enjoy a good reputation in Germany. Their battered honour and pride now rested in the hands of their best clubs and a couple of old soldiers – Ulf Kirsten is one of them. This ‘old gentleman’ of European football is not quite 36 but he has seen everything. And now the Bayer Leverkusen veteran secured a 1-0 win the Rhone city.”


Lyon: Coupet – Deflandre, Edmilson, P. Müller, Brechet – Violeau, Carriere (Juninho 66’), Foe, Laigle (Delmotte 78’) – Nee (Luyindula 60’), Govou.

Bayer 04: Butt – Sebescen, Lucio, Nowotny, Placente – Schneider, Ramelow, Ballack, Bastürk (Zivkovic 78’) – Kirsten (Ojigwe 87’), Neuville (Brdaric 85’).

Goals: 0-1 Kirsten (75’)

Shots on goal: 12-7; on target: 6-6

Corners: 13-4

Booked: Brechet – Nowotny, Placente, Zivkovic

Sent off: Juninho (84’)

Referee: Graziano Cesari (Italy)

Attendance: 37,000

Matchday images



Four members of the Bayer 04 fan club Rheinmacht Hoppaz made their way to Lyon in a hire car. “We were all still affected by the terrorist attacks on 11 September in the USA. And, even with all the anticipation of the trip to France, the mood at the Stade Gerland was downcast,” recalls Thomas von der Heide. Around 500 Black and Red fans supported their team in Lyon. The atmosphere at the Stade Gerland was supposed to be highly charged and passionate. “The game itself was erratic and scrappy,” explains Thomas who, as an aficionado and friend of French football, knew the value of the hard-fought 1-0 win. “We didn’t really count on getting the three points for starters.”

State of play: Group F

As Barcelona beat Fenerbahce 3-0 in the other game, the Catalan side were top of the table ahead of Bayer 04 on matchday two that was, in effect, the first set of games. On 25 September, the third matchday, the Werkself entertained Barcelona at the BayArena. The home game against Fenerbahce on matchday one had been moved to 10 October.



Related News

Europa League - 18.04.2024

Matchday news #WHUB04: Semi-finals firmly in sight

Return leg in London: tonight, Thursday 18 April (kick-off 21:00 CEST), the Werkself visit West Ham United. All the information you need on the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg at the London Stadium is in the Matchday News.

Show more
Die PK vor WHUB04 mit Xhaka und Alonso | Viertelfinale UEL
Werkself-TV - 17.04.2024

Alonso ahead of #WHUB04: “The players give me no doubt”

After the week’s celebrations of the club’s first ever league title, Bayer 04 are now focused once again on their UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg away at West Ham United on Thursday (kick-off: 9pm CEST). The Werkself are in a good position with a 2-0 lead from the first game, but it’s not over yet, as head coach Xabi Alonso and midfielder Granit Xhaka stressed at their pre-match press conference in London on Wednesday evening.

Show more
Bayer 04 - 17.04.2024

Eight Werkself stars nominated for Team of the Season

The German Football League (DFL) has launched the vote for the Bundesliga Team of the Season. As of now, fans of the Werkself can select no fewer than eight Bayer 04 players in the top XI of the 2023/24 campaign: on the shortlist are Lukas Hradecky, Jonathan Tah, Jeremie Frimpong, Alejandro Grimaldo, Granit Xhaka, Exequiel Palacios, Florian Wirtz and Victor Boniface. Voting closes on Monday 22 April at 9:00 CEST.

Show more
Frauen - 17.04.2024

Bayer 04 Women out to top last season’s tally in trip to Leipzig

Bayer 04 Women have the chance to surpass their points total from last season with three games remaining in the Google Pixel Bundesliga as they visit RB Leipzig for Matchday 19 on Friday (kick-off: 6.30pm CEST). Victory against the promoted side would take Robert de Pauw’s team onto 31 points, one more than they managed in their 22 fixtures in 2022/23.

Show more
Europa League - 16.04.2024

Our next opponents: West Ham aiming to turn the tide

In contrast to the Werkself, West Ham United didn’t experience an exhilarating Sunday at the weekend: for the first time in 23 years, the Hammers lost the London derby at home to Fulham in the Premier League. This Thursday, 18 April (kick-off: 21:00 CEST), West Ham will now be looking to overturn the 2-0 first-leg deficit in the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg against Bayer 04.

Show more