Game Report: Europa League, Fixture 2 (Group-stage), Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen 1:1

Overall decent game of Leverkusen against last year champions!! The blogger himself was right with his prediction: 1-1 with a goal by Derdiyok 😉

Jupp Heynckes only made one change to the team that started in Stuttgart. Renato Augusto was not included in the line-up after he had suffered an injury (extent not yet confirmed) in a training session in Madrid. Sam took his position on the right. However Heynckes gave orders to our players to constantly change their positions in midfield. We could see either Vidal or Balitsch in the central offensive role and Barnetta and Sam quite often switched their sides.

The match kicked off with a lot of respect by both teams. Once the respect faded, Bayer 04 showed it’s qualities in offense and put Atletico severely under pressure.  Leverkusen was so good in the first half today that some fans of Atletico even booed their team. At the end of the first half and after a corner, Derdiyok put the Werkself finally ahead. With this advantage Bayer 04 went into half-time.

After half-time Quique Flores took Forlán out to strengthen his midfield with Thiago. This was well-thought as Leverkusen superiority in midfield up to then disappeared. Atletico was far better at the beginning of the second half.  The Spanish team had several chances but did not score until Hyypiä committed an unnecessary penalty that Simao converted with the help of the post. Heynckes reacted to Atletico’s dominance by bringing Rolfes and Bender onto the pitch for Vidal and Balitsch. The balance of the game turned neutral. Both sides had minor opportunities but Leverkusen had the most dangerous one at the end with Helmes missing a low centre that could have meant 3 points for us.

As Fan of Bayer Leverkusen we can be proud of this performance tonight. We had a lot of young players on the pitch and played in a difficult stadium. I am sure that in this group Leverkusen and Atletico will pass to the next round and that the first place will be probably be decided at the BayArena in the last game.

Line-up Atletico Madrid (bottom) vs Bayer Leverkusen (top)

Substitutions Leverkusen
61 min. Rolfes for Balitsch
61 min. Bender for Vidal
67 min. Helmes for Derdiyok 

Substitutions Atletico Madrid
46 min. Thiago for Forlán
46 min. Fran Mérida for Raul García 

Yellow cards: Hyypiä, Sam and Barnetta (all Leverkusen) 

0:1 Derdiyok (39 min.)
1:1 Simao (51 min. by penalty) 

Videos uploaded by third party with no link to We assume no responsibility for it! 

or here:

Rosenborg BK vs Aris Thessaloniki FC 2-1

or here:

Group B Table 
1  Bayer Leverkusen  4 Points (Goal difference: +4)
2  Aris Saloniki  3 Points (Goal difference: 0)
3  Rosenborg Trondheim  3 Points (Goal difference: -3)
4  Atletico Madrid  1 Point (Goal difference: -1)  

Vicente Calderón before the match

300-450 Werkself Fans in Madrid

Team Bus

Visit to see more photos

Feel free to discuss today’s game.  I am not sure who was the best Leverkusen player today but I must say I was disappointed with Barnetta’s performance.

7 responses to “Game Report: Europa League, Fixture 2 (Group-stage), Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen 1:1

  1. Hey, your prediction was right! 🙂
    I’m happy for the draw, Atletico is a good team and played in their stadium..
    but there are some things I didn’t like:
    1) our central defenders are good with high balls and I like the way the whole team defend with 9-10 players behind the line of the ball but when other teams attack faster we are always in danger! Did you see how Friedrich could do nothing to stop an Atletico player in the first half on the right side?
    we are too slow in defence…
    2) every time Adler gets the ball he kicks it in nowhere land and we miss the opportunity to start a decent action! with just one striker we should start the action from the defence and don’t kick the ball as far as we can and hope for someone (Derdiyok) to take it…
    3) I didn’t like Vidal ‘s performance at all…
    he was angry when he was substituted but I think he deserved it…

  2. Good comments here Luca, I agree on everything.

    1) Unfortunately that’s the situation, to play a decent season (if we don’t sign someone in the winter break) we must play like this to avoid that our central defenders are too exposed.
    I liked Friedrich yesterday, he was better than in previous matches. However all three including Reinartz are just slow and stiff. Someone like Perea (quick and dynamic) would do us good.
    2) Adler is excellent on the line, reasonable in 1-to-1 situations but when it gets to kicking/throwing the ball forward or stopping a penalty he is useless. Neuer throws the ball extremely well, he should work on that if he wants to get a chance in the national team. Adler has only stopped one penalty in his professional career so far, if my sources are right.
    3) I can live with his performance but the reaction on his substitution is not acceptable. It’s not the first time, he is just hot-blooded. Doubt he will put that under control one day.

    Bremen is coming to Leverkusen with a lot of injuries: Pizarro, Mertesacker, Torsten Frings, Naldo and Clemens Fritz. Hope we can take advantage of this situation. So far, we have been not good after a EL-game.

  3. If my informations are right, Adler was the best in bundesliga last season in percentage, when his kicks and throws found Leverkusener. Stats were saying about 7-8 of 10 finds some teammate. Anyway, right now i have to agree, smt goes wrong.
    I must say i am really fascinated how well our young players appears. They seems like not risking much and playing for sure like experienced.
    Barnetta is weird last weeks, he can perform well, but he still have a work to do, seen him in better form.
    I guess you are right Luca, central defensmen are the same. Experienced, should be reliable, but not fast. Everyone have strong fast and shifty attacker today. When they attack on the ground through midfield, we are in danger. But if we chooses this kind of defence, than we have to play offside trap very well. :))

  4. Daniel I am not aware of these numbers. Statistics can also lie sometimes (see below), he is not horrible in this aspect but he could improve his overall quality if he works in these areas.

    What struck me last season about Adler was this: at the end of the season delivers statistics on nearly everything.
    See here (only german 😦 )

    If you go to the last page (34) you have stats on how well the goalkeepers in the Bundesliga saved last season.
    Adler received 37 goals and stopped 59 shots, that means he stopped 61.5% of all shots

    59/(37+57) * 100

    That made him the worst goalkeeper in the League that season. Hard to believe 🙂

    How can you explain those numbers?
    -Very good defense that season, so if the opponent had a chance it was often a clear one on goal
    -Not always at it’s best: Bremen for example (Naldo’s free kick)

    I don’t think he was the worse goalkeeper of the League but it was a poor year for him.

    He is doing far better in this first month of competition.

    Barnetta is probably suffering from the World Cup, as said on the spanish side of the blog: changing Barnetta (if he is the one to leave us) for Schürrle can be a good decision.

    About our young players performing well: I think Balitsch experience has added a lot to the team (just added his interview to the press section), the young player this season have enough leaders around them (add Ballack, Kiessling is a reference too and Barnetta shoud be also with his 25-26 years).

  5. I didn’t mean to say that Adler is a bad kicker; what I was trying to point out is that we are afraid to start an action or that Jupp chose this strategy that I don’t like too much because we have just one striker to receive the passage against 2-3 defenders.. so we lose the ball!
    so the point is the tactics of the team, not Adler’s technique…

    I can’t understand why Leverkusen always play with tall and slow defenders.. I remember Nowotny, Roque Junior, Madouni, Callsen-Bracker, Haggui… I’d prefer a tall and strong one with a faster one.

    And about Barnetta.. even if sometimes he doesn’t play too well I think that we’ll lose a great player if we sell him… I’m not so happy about his leaving…

    PS: I remember the penalty he stopped! Van der Vaart agaist Hamburg!


  6. We have communication problems 😉

    With a 4-2-3-1 you would have preferred short passes to our defenders so we build up our game from behind?
    Although it sounds easy let me remind you on Hannover and Castro! 🙂

    With Derdiyok it makes sense to boot up the ball especially against spanish teams who prefer to play low balls. With Helmes it’s not a good idea that’s true.

    As said, I personally think Adler lacks precision when he does a goal kick. Let’s observe him tomorrow! I think Wiese will do better in this aspect.

    Regarding central defender, I like that combination one strong and tall defender and the other one a quick and tackling guy.

    Back in April, there was a rumour linking us with this guy who seemed to be in my eyes a good and payable alternative for Friedrich, Hyypiä, Reinartz: Marcelo Antonio Guedes from Wisla Krakow . He moved to PSV this season for 3.8 Mio EUR

    See video below:

    We had also an purchase option on Anderson from Fortuna Düsseldorf, another brazilian central defender who was outstanding in the 2.Bundesliga. He would have cost us 2 Mio and now plays for Mönchengladbach (on the bench): Anderson

    We can only hope that we will get something in the winter or that Friedrich or Hyypiä get reborn again.
    It doesn’t have to be expensive, look how well Jorgensen has fit in and his price was only 500.000-800.000. Our Scouting should find something affordable.

    Correction: it looks like Adler has saved 2 penalties, apart from the one you correctly mention he saved one against Zenit St.Petersburg.

  7. Yes, that’s what I meant.. Castro made a mistake but I prefer a good action with many passages (that a good team like Leverkusen can do) than a long kick and cross-your-fingers! 😉
    I trust our scouts, in my opinion they are some of the best! (they found so many great players from nowhere!)
    let’s see…

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