Category Archives: Europa League

Match Report: Europa League, Round of 16 (second-leg), Villarreal vs Bayer Leverkusen 2:1

Villarreal CF underlined their credentials as UEFA Europa League contenders as 90 minutes of deft, daring and increasingly confident football made light work of Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Leading 3-2 after last week’s first leg, splendid strikes in each half from Santi Cazorla and Giuseppe Rossi saw them through to Friday’s quarter-final draw, Gonzalo’s own goal eight minutes from time proving little more than a consolation for the visitors.

Cazorla and Rossi, now the UEFA Europa League’s top scorer with eight goals, finished clinically and led Jupp Heynckes’ troops a merry dance all night. They took the tie utterly out of their reach before easing off and Leverkusen finished strongly, bringing two marvellous saves from Diego López. The German side made stern competitors but Villarreal were confident winners.

With Nilmar and Cani rested, FIFA World Cup winner Carlos Marchena made a rare, but typically sparkling cameo appearance in midfield. His neat, quick passing was the metronome via which Villarreal used the ball with intelligence, getting out of trouble and causing it for the visitors.

Rossi had gone closest by the time he sculpted the 33rd-minute opener for his Spanish team-mate, perfectly returning Cazorla’s pass and crashing the ball past René Adler. Renato Augusto was the standard bearer as Leverkusen tried to prise a way back with his one effort in first half added time and then another shot which forced López into a stunning full-length save just before the hour.

But it was not enough. Four minutes later Cazorla returned the favour for Rossi to fire a lovely left-footed drive past Adler and, at 5-2 Villarreal knew they were through. Amid wave after Mexican wave in the Madrigal stands, Michael Ballack came on and Leverkusen fought diligently. They found reward when Erin Derdiyok and Gonzalo contested Daniel Schwaab’s cross and the ball found its way into the Villarreal net.


Line-up: Villarreal (bottom) vs Leverkusen (top)

Substitutions Villarreal
69 min. Nilmar for Rossi
74 min. Capdevila for Borja Valero
80 min. Cani for Santi Cazorla

Substitutions Leverkusen
43 min. Sam for Castro
53 min. Ballack for Kießling
60 min. Schwaab for Vida

Yellow Cards: Gonzalo Rodriguez (Villarreal); Reinartz,Kadlec,Schwaab,L. Bender (all Leverkusen)

1:0 Santi Cazorla (33 min.)
2:0 Rossi (61 min.)
2:1 Gonzalo Rodriguez (82 min.)

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Match Preview: Europa League, Round of 16 (second-leg), Villarreal vs Bayer Leverkusen

Thursday, 17/03/2011 @ 21:05 (GMT+1)

A difficult task awaits the Werkself in Spain, winning by 2 goals or scoring at least 4 goals are needed to reach the next round. 

Coach Jupp Heynckes has decided to call up the entire squad for this away trip. Ballack should replace the suspended Vidal and in attack both Derdiyok and Kiessling are likely to play from the beginning.

Line-up Villarreal (from MARCA):
Diego López-Mario,Gonzalo,Marchena,Capdevila-B.Valero,Bruno-Cani,Cazorla-Nilmar,Rossi


Most German media believe that Heynckes will announce next week (Monday or Tuesday) his move to Bayern Munich where he would sign a contract for 2 seasons (2011/12 & 2012/13) 

However an self-proclaimed “insider” on who in the past was right on a lot of Leverkusen’s transfers and coach decisions before they were made public says that no offer from Bayern Munich exists.  It would all come down to renewing for another year or putting an end to the coaching career.

Don’t know what to believe!

Game Report: Europa League, Round of 16 (first-leg), Bayer Leverkusen vs Villarreal 2:3

19 to 4 shots and 61% to 39% Possession were not sufficient for Bayer Leverkusen to avoid a home defeat against Villarreal. Our central defenders Schwaab and Reinartz received a lesson from Rossi and Nilmar – Hyypiä was severely missed.

And it all started so well for the Werkself, Kadlec scored after 33 minutes with a strong shot from his left side.  That lead however was not carried into half-time, Rossi was invited to score minutes before (42 min.).  A defensive mistake that in Europe comes not cheap! 

Derdiyok suffered from respiratory difficulties and had to be substituted for Kiessling in the break.  Leverkusen practised an offensive and risky football (often attacking with 7-8 man) in the second half, while Villarreal after achieving their objective (away goal) pulled further back.  The spanish team understood well how to close down their area and besides an offside goal by Kiessling, the Werkself did not come to many chances. After 70 minutes the match went for moments crazy: First Nilmar found his way through the area and scored the second goal for Villarreal with help of Kadlec and Reinartz (70 min.), Castro then in the next attack made it 2:2 again (72 min.).

Jørgensen came in for a disappointing Sam, Leverkusen chased with even more intensity the winning goal. This happened mainly over the right side with the ball circulating between Vidal-Vida-Jørgensen, the danish youngster however did not produce anything worthwhile on his wing. It was the 93 min and a few seconds when the German commentator on Sat1 started saying: “Well this is it, a 2:2 for Bayer….Nilmar…..This cannot be true. Goal for Villarreal.” 😦

If there is one topic that has been treated a lot on this blog, than it’s the low quality of our central defense. I will therefore not repeat myself.

This together with the for my taste too offensive approach, lack of aggressiveness and concentration made us lose this game.

Hyypiä was down with a flu/virus from Saturday to Tuesday. Heynckes should have risked him, he couldn’t have made it worse!

Only positive note of the evening was Vida. The kid is a real fighter!

Line-up: Leverkusen (top) vs Villarreal (bottom)

Substitutions Leverkusen
46 min. Kießling for Derdiyok
76 min. Jørgensen for Sam
89 min. L. Bender for Rolfes

Substitutions Villarreal
62 min. Santi Cazorla for Wakaso
69 min. Nilmar for Rossi
83 min. Joan Oriol for Marco Ruben

Yellow Cards: Vidal (misses next game, Leverkusen); Musacchio, Wakaso, Catala (all Villarreal).

1:0 Kadlec (33 min.)
1:1 Rossi (42 min.)
1:2 Nilmar (70 min.)
2:2 Castro (72 min.)
2:3 Nilmar (90. + 4 min)

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Stay Vidal!


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Match Preview: Europa League, Round of 16 (first-leg), Bayer Leverkusen vs Villarreal

10/03/2011 @ 19:00 (GMT+1)

Press Conference with Heynckes and Derdiyok (Wednesday)

Opening Statement Jupp Heynckes: I already knew a lot about Villarreal before the draw, of course I have continued to study them in more detail after knowing that they could be our next opponent.  We face a team that can play at the highest level possible.  I follow the Spanish league just like the Bundesliga and Pep Guardiola said not long ago about Villarreal: “On good days Villarreal is an absolute top team in Europe.”  It will be therefore a difficult match, but I am optimistic because we have also a top team that has played good football in the last weeks.

Eren Derdiyok: The coach informed us on the strengths of Villarreal.   They play a good ball and have great players on their team who can decide a match in any moment.

Question: Mr. Heynckes when are you going to extend your contract at Bayer 04?

Heynckes: We have 4 important matches in the next two weeks.  After the game against Schalke I am going to sit down with the management and we will battle for a decision. (Note: Investments in new players seem to play a big role together with the requirement that Leverkusen needs to play in the Champions League.  The management has a “Plan B” and secured an buy out option on Robin Dutt who renewed his contract at Freiburg till 2012)

Question: Apart from Barnetta and M.Friedrich will everyone else be called up for this match including Michael Ballack?

Heynckes: M.Friedrich is out for 4 to 6 weeks, that’s very unfortunate.  Barnetta has been training very well but caught a stomach bug yesterday.  He is the fifth or sixth player that had this problem in the last week.  Regarding Michael Ballack, he trained intensively, for example yesterday in an extra-session running stairs and doing other exercises for over an hour.  Michael is not going to join us in our team concentration tonight.

Question: Is the rotation that you practised in the Europa League going to end tomorrow against this strong opponent? Will Derdiyok play from the beginning? In the past the player that accompanied you on the press conference normally made the starting line-up.

Heynckes: You know me well.  Yes, Eren is going to start.  I have been switching strikers in nearly every game in the last weeks.  I don’t know if you observed the goal celebration of Kiessling on Saturday, he ran to Eren, this mirrors the great atmosphere in the team.  Tomorrow I plan not to change much, Vidal is set to return and the rest are going to be the usual suspects we all know.

Question: Eren, a few weeks ago René Adler told us that he dreamed of playing the final.  Do you also have this dream? Is this allowed?

Derdiyok: Of course you can dream, but it’s important to focus on handling everything step by step.  We have now a difficult task at home, we need to play with full concentration and intelligently.  This needs to be then repeated again away.  If you keep winning, then it’s ok to dream because you are getting nearer and nearer to this objective.

Question: Mr.Heynckes, how optimistic are you that we will see a crowded BayArena tomorrow and not only 15,16 or 17.000?

Heynckes: I heard that already 20.000 tickets have been sold.  I’m positive that we are going to have a good stadium atmosphere tomorrow.  I liked the support on Saturday, my team will need it to be successful.


Line-up Villarreal (from MARCA):

Vidal and Sidney Sam will miss the return leg if they see a yellow tonight.

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Presentation of Giuseppe Rossi

See you all in the Chat tonight!  Auf geht’s Bayer: Kämpfen und Siegen! (Let’s go Bayer: Fight and Win!)

Atletico Madrid – Villarreal 1:3

Villarreal will travel to Leverkusen having lost 1-3 against Atletico Madrid on Saturday:

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1-0 Reyes (min.5)
1-1 Rossi (min. 34)
2-1 Agüero (min. 68)
3-1 Forlán (min. 72)

The spanish team will fly to Cologne on Wednesday and touch down on German soil at 13:40.  Missing on the plane will be  Marcos Senna, Ángel López, Cicinho (all injured) and Joan Capdevila (suspended).

Villarreal’s Squad for this game:

Diego López
Juan Carlos

Mario Gaspar
Gonzalo Rodríguez

Bruno Soriano
Javier Matilla
Borja Valero
Wakaso Mubarak

Marco Ruben

More information in a match preview tomorrow!


Domagoj Vida to Dinamo Zagreb?

Game Report: Europa League, Round of 32 (second-leg), Bayer Leverkusen vs Metalist Kharkiv 2:0

In front of 16.212 spectators Bayer Leverkusen proved again that they were strong for Metalist Kharkiv.  The result should have been higher, a lot of good goal scoring opportunities were wasted.

The positive note of the evening was Ballack’s goal, but overall it wasn’t a brilliant game by the number 13.  It will be interesting to see how Heynckes will line-up on Sunday.  Personally I don’t think that he will tear apart Rolfes and Vidal in defensive midfield or leave Renato Augusto without the role as 10er. 

Schwaab received compliments from the coach on the press conference for his performance as centre-back.  Not the first time!  Will he evolve to become a centre-back in the future (next season)? 

Line-up: Leverkusen (top) vs Kharkiv (bottom)

Substitutions Leverkusen
46 min. Vidal for L. Bender
64 min. da Costa for Renato Augusto
64 min. Kampl for Rolfes

Substitutions Kharkiv
58 min. Cristaldo for Devic
58 min. Valyayev for Taison
76 min. Vorobey for Cleiton Xavier

Yellow cards: Jörgensen (Leverkusen); Shelayev (Kharkiv)

1:0 Rolfes (47 min.)
2:0 Ballack (70 min.)

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Our next opponent in the Round of 16 is Villarreal (Home: 10/03/2011; Away: 17/03/2011).  Given Heynckes vast experience on Spanish football, I am very optimistic that we can reach the next round.  We will have to stand very tight in defense (Vidal, Rolfes and Ballack/Bender in the middle should be the approach that the coach will use), try to make it a physical game and playing out our strength in the air.

Your thoughts please here or in the forum! 😉

Match Preview: Europa League, Round of 32 (second-leg), Bayer Leverkusen vs Metalist Kharkiv

Thursday, 24/02/2011 @ 19:05 (GMT+1)

Press conference (Wednesday)

Opening statement Jupp Heynckes: As said after our victory in the first leg, we have a comfortable lead. But this does not mean we should take it easy, especially in the Europa League you have to play all games at 100%. I think it’s important to show a good performance tomorrow, so that we can travel with a lot of confidence to Bremen on Sunday. Metalist Kharkiv is stronger then they have showed last Thursday, we do good in taking this second-leg seriously.

René Adler: Our coach told us before the season that we have the sufficient quality to do well in the Europa League. The team is highly motivated in this competition, you can see that in every match we play. Our premise is to think from game to game, so we want to go out and win the match tomorrow. Of course, dreaming is sometimes inevitable, I personally have caught myself thinking about the difficult opponent we will face in the next round or how beautiful it would be to play the final.

Question: How much rotation will we see tomorrow?

Heynckes: Of course I will introduce as usual some changes to the team, but we will see a competitive eleven on the field.

Question: Will Michael Ballack play?

Heynckes: As said I will make some changes to the line-up, but these will be first communicated to the players.


Difficult to predict, the same with the attendance.  Bayer 04 is giving away a free additional entrance to every bought ticket to avoid a half-empty stadium.


Jupp Heynckes continues to postpone his contract extension.  Getting the feeling that he might not continue.  Robin Dutt from Freiburg seems to be the Nr.1 candidate, in case Jupp retires.

René Adler will talk in April again with Bayer 04 about a new contract.