Category Archives: Champions League

Game Report: Champions League Group E, Fixture 2, Bayer Leverkusen vs KRC Genk 2:0

Bayer Leverkusen beat Belgian champions Genk 2-0 at the BayArena in a sometimes nervy performance to go second in Champions League Group E behind Chelsea and leave Genk at the bottom of the table.

Lars Bender opened the scoring on half an hour, but Leverkusen laboured for long periods and only put the game to bed in the final minutes as substitute Michael Ballack scored with a deflected effort.

Genk had their chances, particularly through set pieces and can consider themselves unfortunate not to have grabbed a point.

The first half was dominated by Leverkusen, though there were brief pockets of Genk pressure, and it was they who created the first chance after a quarter of an hour. Leverkusen would struggle with set pieces all half and this was the first as Jeroen Simaeys headed over at the far post from the first corner of the match.

Andre Schurrle was involved in everything for Leverkusen and it was he a minute later who sliced a golden opportunity miles over the bar from 10 yards after being teed up by Sidney Sam.

Leverkusen looked to be running short on ideas until Bender grabbed the breakthrough. When Stefan Kiessling was tackled after trying to turn in the box, the ball fell to the young German, who hit a first time effort from a tight angle past the lunge of Laszlo Koteles and into the far corner.

A couple of efforts from the edge of the area went close for Leverkusen, the second a shot from Renato Augusto that was acrobatically palmed behind by Koteles. Genk had one further half chance following another corner to the far post, but it went the same way as the other, flying wide.

The second half was a bit of a timid affair until the excellent Schurrle almost scored what would have been a memorable solo effort. He jinked in and around four or five Genk challenges and found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat, but his shot flew into the legs of Koteles and away to safety.

Genk created a wonderful opportunity to equalise with 13 minutes to go as Marvin Ogunjimi was presented with a free header with absolutely no one around him. He headed into the ground, taking some pace off the ball, but Bernd Leno still had to pull off an excellent save to tip it around the post.

It was nervy in the last 10 minutes until Ballack settled it. Anele Ngcongca’s header fell onto the chest of the German veteran and his early volley hit off the same man and flew into the far corner.

Source: Eurosport.com

Reactions after the game

Robin Dutt: “It was an important victory for us. People talked before the match about how we needed to win, but if you come off a run of three defeats in a row nothing is guaranteed.  I saw a good mentality from my team today, even though not everything worked out perfectly, of course.  We sometimes lacked aggression and didn’t apply as much pressure as we should have, but that has something to do with the confidence level after the latest results. The victory nevertheless feels great.”

Michal Kadlec: “Of course we’re happy with the win, especially given that recent weeks have not been easy for us. However, you have to say that there is still a lot of room for improvement.  The performance was a step in the right direction, but the win was the only thing that mattered.  At the end we were trembling, but Bernd Leno parried the header wonderfully. With Michael Ballack’s goal in added time, we were finally able to relax. Lars [Bender] was really happy with his goal and I’ve already asked him where he got his left foot. It doesn’t really matter who scores, though, the main thing is to win in the Champions League.”

Lars Bender: “At Leverkusen, we’re not used to losing three successive games. We absolutely had to win this game and it’s taken a lot of pressure off us. I don’t know why Michal Kadlec said I don’t have a left foot – I don’t score often, but when I do it’s always with my left. For the goal, I didn’t think too much about it, I just hit it and it was a nice strike.  It’s great to be named man of the match, but the win is more important”. Chelsea are the clear favourites in this group and we’re in competition with Valencia for second place. It was a good first step in the right direction and now we have to win at home against Valencia.”

Line-up: Leverkusen vs Genk

Substitutions Leverkusen
65 min. Balitsch for Renato Augusto
80 min. Ballack for Kadlec
90. + 3 min. Derdiyok for Kießling

Substitutions Genk
46 min. Barda for Vossen
69 min. Hyland for Nadson
78 min. Nwanganga for Hubert

Yellow Cards: Kadlec and Toprak (both Leverkusen); Nadson and Pudil (both Genk)

Goals:
1:0 L. Bender (30 min.)
2:0 Ballack (90. + 2 min.)

Statistics Leverkusen vs Genk
Attempts on target: 5 vs 5
Attempts off target: 11 vs 4
Corners: 7 vs 9
Offsides: 3 vs 2
Fouls committed: 15 vs 18
Possession (%): 62 vs 38

Standings Group E
1 Chelsea FC 4 Points
2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3 Points
3 Valencia CF 2 Points
4 KRC Genk 1 Point

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Game Report: Champions League Group E, Fixture 1, Chelsea FC vs Bayer Leverkusen 2:0

by Patrick1904

Most Leverkusen Fans went yesterday to sleep with a smile on their face. The Werkself had put together a better than expected display against the English giant. It was cleverness that decided the encounter at the end.  No surprise at this level.

Bayer 04’s defense managed to not receive a goal in the first half and was only under pressure in the last 10 minutes before the break. Especially the beginning of the second half brought a lot of chances for the Leverkusen side.

However in middle of this Bayer momentum in the second half, Blues Brazilian centre-back David Luiz struck our hearts with a shot to the far post from outside of the area. Unstoppable for Leno, who had been brilliant at the Bridge, with saves that Capello would love to see from any (young) English goalkeeper. The upper hand that Bayer 04 possessed until the 67th minute was flushed away. Ballack missed a 1 on 1 against Cech just a few minutes earlier and got substituted 37 seconds prior to Luiz’s goal! Did we lose our organisation on the pitch? Why is the most veteran player on the squad not allowed to play 90 minutes? According to him he felt fine and with the sufficient energies to endure the entire match.

There is no doubt that Robin Dutt did an excellent job at analysing the opponent, choosing the right line-up (Schürrle instead of poor defending Renato) and giving the right instructions to his players. Just as an example, the high amount of long goal kicks/throws to Kiessling were aimed at avoiding deadly ball losses in our part of the field, like we have seen in the recent past.  But Ballack’s substitution was a mistake and I am sure he knows that. The 35 year-old was a reference for the players around him and won 70% of his direct challenges. Sidney Sam hardly ignited his turbo yesterday night and would have been the correct man to come off at that time. This cannot serve as an excuse for the goal received, but it underlines that we were missing cleverness from both players and the coach in these deciding moments.

Following the goal, the Werkself continued to fight for every centimeter of grass. However opportunities were rare and Chelsea way more dangerous on the counter-attack with Lampard and Anelka, both were brought on minutes prior to Chelsea’s goal. The increasingly offensive attitude of Leverkusen, gave the second goal to Chelsea on a silver tablet. Similar as against Villareal in the BayArena the desperate run forward came expensive. Let’s just hope that we will not remember Juan Mata’s goal in the last fixture.

YES we played a great match, but we did not achieve a great RESULT (draw), let’s not forget that!  A lot of good chances were wasted, as you can see below in the statistics.

Who knows! Maybe it would have been better to not have dreamt about a victory at Stamford Bridge and instead used a more conservative approach in the second half (Balitsch for Sam). This is my impression, we really went for it following the half-time break.

Sounds a bit negative from side, but hey cannot always give away roses.  If you want that just read Bayer04.de  😉

Dutt’s statement after the match

“Actually, not much went wrong [for us]. We had a huge chance to take the lead through [Michael] Ballack, but then a centre-back is allowed to march right through the entire midfield to score. That was one of the few moments where we were not very well organised. That was the decisive thing today; Chelsea opening the scoring. Chelsea won deservedly, no question about it. But nevertheless I have seen a good performance from my team.”

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

Substitutions Chelsea
64 min. Anelka for Sturridge
64 min. Lampard for Raul Meireles
76 min. Alex for David Luiz

Substitutions Leverkusen
66 min. Renato Augusto for Ballack
73 min. Derdiyok for Sam
80 min. Balitsch for L. Bender

Yellow Cards: Fernando Torres and David Luiz (both Chelsea); Castro, L. Bender and Derdiyok (all Leverkusen)

Goals:
1:0 David Luiz (67 min.)
2:0 Mata (90. + 2 min.)

Statistics Chelsea vs Leverkusen
Attempts on target: 11 vs 2
Attempts off target: 10 vs 6
Corners: 6 vs 2
Offsides: 2 vs 1
Fouls committed: 17 vs 24

Group E

KRC Genk vs FC Valencia 0:0

Standings:
1 Chelsea FC          3 Points (2:0 goals)
2 Valencia CF       1 Point (0:0 goals)
3 KRC Genk           1 Point (0:0 goals)
4 Bayer 04 Leverkusen     0 Points (0:2 goals)

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Our fans were amazing in London!

__________

Brilliant for me yesterday: Leno, Toprak, Schürrle and Ballack
Disappointing: Bender and Sam

Go ahead and discuss!

Return to the Champions League

by SchnixB04 (follow on Twitter)

Tuesday, 13.09.2011 @ 20:45 (GMT+2)

On Tuesday, Bayer 04 Leverkusen return to the Champion’s League for the first time since 2005. Last year’s second-place finish ensured that the Werkself qualified for the CL’s group stages, and the recent draw has landed B04 in a competitive group that includes Belgian champion K.R.C. Genk, Spanish third-place finisher Valencia C.F., and perennial English powerhouse, Chelsea F.C. For their first test, Leverkusen faces the group favorite at Stamford Bridge, as Chelsea looks to continue its consistent and impressive results in the Champion’s League. In anticipation of this match, let’s take a quick look at the team Leverkusen might encounter.

Although it appears as if all English clubs are basically chasing the two Manchester teams, Chelsea probably has the best chance of anyone to catch one of them if they slip up. After starting the season with three victories and one draw Chelsea finds itself in third place, two points behind City and United. Victories at home against West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, coupled with an away tie and win against Stoke City and Sunderland, respectively, have Chelsea well positioned for another deep run in the Premiership title race but don’t doubt that the Champion’s League trophy is the piece of silverware most coveted by the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba, et. al.

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Although this match will be one of Leverkusen’s greatest challenges all season, Chelsea will go into the match with some questions about their lineup, especially in the attack. Last year’s mega-signing from Liverpool, Fernando Torres, is on an extremely short leash from new coach Andre Villas-Boas, having recently attributed his scoring struggles to the “advanced age” of some of his teammates. I am sure that midfield stalwarts such as Lampard and Florent Malouda were not exactly happy to hear Torres’ description of the team after supporting the striker during what has become a season-long goal drought going back to last year. Torres has yet to rediscover his form from his early days at Liverpool, and further complicating matters for Chelsea is the head injury and subsequent concussion suffered by star striker Didier Drogba a few weeks ago. Drogba has been ruled out of the CL match, which will allow Leverkusen’s back line to breathe somewhat more easily. Villas-Boas, who hasn’t been shy about threatening to drop Torres to a permanent bench spot, will likely look to recent suspension returnee Daniel Sturridge, who scored a lovely backheel goal over the weekend, and/or Chelsea stalwart and French malcontent, Nicolas Anelka.

Over the last decade, Chelsea’s midfield has paved the way for the club’s success. This year, too, fans will look to the midfield to provide the type of success they have become used to in recent years. Led, for what seems like forever, by (ex?) national team midfielder, Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s midfield finds itself not quite as settled as in years past. There is much talent on this part of the team, but as Torres himself stated, it’s not quite at the level that has been in the past. Florent Malouda hasn’t yet discovered his best form, and as in the last game at Sunderland, he might find himself on the bench once again in favor of Juan Mata. Malouda’s international club experience may prove to be too valuable to leave out of the lineup, however. Juan Mata’s arrival at Chelsea is a promising sign for an “aging” midfield, and it would be no surprise to see the young Spaniard start the CL match against Leverkusen as Chelsea looks to put its stamp on the game from the beginning. His creativity and offensive prowess will be invaluable against a susceptible Leverkusen back line. It’s likely that the rest of the midfield will be rounded out by Raul Meireles and Mikel, two midfielders who can defend and attack with pace. Ramires, who is suspended for this match and who will be missed, will have to watch from the stands.

Chelsea’s defense is probably the most settled part of their lineup and can boast some truly world-class players. Led by captain John Terry, whose best days are behind him but who still commands the respect of his teammates, the back line has the potential to make the lives of Leverkusen midfielders a living hell. Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa will be able to attack with pace along the left and right touch lines, and Leverkusen’s wing midfielders will be asked to track back often to nullify this threat. In the middle Terry will likely partner with Branislav Ivanovic, who has been a solid substitute for the injured (and awesome) David Luiz. Luiz may be nearing a return to fitness, and his inclusion in this match may be a possibility. Whosoever ends up playing in that position, Leverkusen’s attackers will need to be at their best to crack this experienced and dangerous back line.

Whether Chelsea ends up playing a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3, Villas-Boas will look to pressure Leverkusen early and often to take control of the game. The Chelsea trainer will have certainly taken note of Leverkusen’s victory at Augsburg, in which the 4-1 scoreline favored Bayer04 more than it deserved. Augsburg’s attackers were constantly able to harass Leverkusen’s defensive wingers, running down the wings and cutting inside with regularity. Villas-Boas has a bevy of talented midfielders and defenders who will be chomping at the bit to attack Leverkusen’s most vulnerable positions.

Now for some totally biased and subjective analysis: Leverkusen can achieve a draw, and also the all-important away goal, at Stamford Bridge. This optimism stems in part from the injuries or suspensions suffered by key Chelsea players, including GK Peter Cech, who returned early on the weekend from a knee injury, Drogba, and Ramires. Leverkusen has their own injury/suspension concerns, but the team has been making do with a patchwork back line/midfield for some time now and the adjustment should not prove too difficult. Michael Ballack, no matter his role on Tuesday, brings CL experience to a team without much and he will be motivated to leave his impression on the game. He will be further motivated by the fact that Chelsea FC, in a show of great class, will honor Ballack before the match for his time with the English club. The key to the game, in my opinion, will be how the wingers for Leverkusen play both on offense and defense. Chelsea has the ability to take the game to its opponent, and Leverkusen will have to absorb this pressure and choose its moments of attack on the counter well. Either way, the matchup promises to be an entertaining one, and a great re-introcuction to the highest level of competition in European club football for Leverkusen.

Line-up prediction

Chelsea:
P.Cech-Bosingwa,Ivanovic,Terry,A. Cole-Mikel-Mata,Lampard,Raul Meireles-Fernando Torres,Anelka

Injuries/Suspension:
Didier Drogba is out with concussion while Michael Essien (knee) is a long term absentee.  Ramires will miss the game due to a suspension.

Leverkusen:
Leno-Castro,Reinartz,Toprak,Kadlec-Bender,Rolfes-Sam,Ballack,Schürrle-Kießling

Injuries:
Rene Adler, Bastian Oczipka, Tranquillo Barnetta and Michael Ortega

Viel Glueck, Jungs!