Head coach Gerardo Seoane made four changes from the 3-2 defeat against SC Freiburg for the Champions League opener in 2022/23: Piero Hincapie and Mitchel Bakker came in for Edmond Tapsoba and Daley Sinkgraven with Charles Aránguiz starting in midfield in place of Exequiel Palacios. Kerem Demirbay made way for the new signing from Chelsea Callum Hudson-Odoi who made his first start for the Werkself in this Champions League tie.
The game got off to a quiet start: Both sides looked to play safe and avoid mistakes. It took ten minutes before the Werkself had the first chance. Moussa Diaby cut inside to the middle from the right flank but his shot was straight at the keeper Simon Mignolet. And the next good chances also fell to the Black and Reds: Patrik Schick put a low cross from Hincapie just inches wide of the Belgian club’s goal (21'). Then Diaby hit the post from 18 yards out (28'). The goal putting the Werkself behind just before the break came out of the blue: From a corner, Abakar Sylla headed towards goal, Lukas Hradecky caught the ball but carried it behind his line as he fell back (42'). Club Brugge took a 1-0 lead into half-time.
For the start of the second half, Seoane reacted by bringing on Palacios for Aránguiz and he changed from a back three to a back four enabling Jeremie Frimpong to play higher up the pitch. The second 45 was evenly balanced at the start with both sides having chances: For the Black and Reds the efforts came from Bakker (52') and Hudson-Odoi (56'), and for Club Brugge it was Ferran Jutgla (53').
Bayer 04 continued to look to get back on terms but were unable to score. The coach made a double substitution on 68 minutes: Adam Hlozek came on for Bakker, Robert Andrich made way for Demirbay. The changes seem to have paid off with an equaliser but VAR ruled out the strike from Schick on 73 minutes due to an offside. And Schick's goal on 77 minutes was also ruled out by the referee with another offside decision.
Seoane made another double substitution late on, bringing on Nadiem Amiri and Sardar Azmoun in place of Hudson-Odoi and Frimpong. The Werkself fought to the end and endeavoured to net an equaliser. Demirbay tried from outside the box (89'). In the four minutes of added time, the Werkself were unable to find the back of the net in spite of another threat on goal from Hlozek (90+3') – the Black and Reds ended the match against Club Brugge with an unfortunate 1-0 defeat.
Before next week's European game, the Werkself are in action in the Bundesliga at the weekend on matchday six. The Black and Reds are away to Hertha Berlin who are currently thirteenth in the league table with four points. The match against the capital club kicks off at 15.30 CEST on Saturday 10 September.
Club Brugge: Mignolet - Odoi, Mechele, Sylla - Onyedika (Balanta 83') - Skov Olsen (Sandra 83'), Nielsen, Vanaken, Meijer - Jutgla (Yaremchuk 63'), Sowah (Sobol 89')
Bayer 04: Hradecky - Kossounou, Tah, Hincapie - Frimpong (Azmoun 86'), Andrich (Demirbay 68'), Aránguiz (Palacios 46'), Bakker (Hlozek 68') - Diaby, Schick, Hudson-Odoi (Amiri 86')
Goals: 0-1 Sylla (41.)
Booked: Sowah - Palacios, Andrich
Referee: Irfan Peljto (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
Attendance: 21,235 at the Jan Breydel Stadium
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