Bayer Leverkusen continued its frightening sporting descent on its return to the premier class and exacerbated the precarious situation for coach Gerardo Seoane. 1001 days after the last appearance in the Champions League, the Werkself lost 0-1 (0-1) in Group B after a bad mistake by goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky at Belgian series champions FC Brugge. For Bayer it was the sixth defeat in seven competitive games this season.
Abakar Sylla (42′) scored for the hosts, Hradecky fell into the goal with the ball in his arms. Leverkusen, who competed in the Europa League for the past two seasons, played their last Champions League game in December 2019 in the group stage against Juventus Turin. Other group opponents for Leverkusen are Atletico Madrid and FC Porto.
“Very annoying,” Seoane agreed DAZN the defeat, but emphasized: “The players give me positive answers. We were very good defensively and allowed very little. We created a lot, we lack accuracy in the last pass and we also lack luck in the game.”
Seoane, who sporting director Simon Rolfes had backed after the fourth Bundesliga defeat in the fifth game on Saturday against SC Freiburg (2-3), relied on new signing Callum Hudson-Odoi in the starting XI for the first time. The England international, who was loaned out from Chelsea last week and provided an assist during his brief spell against Freiburg, often lacked coordination with his new team-mates.
In the atmospheric Jan Breydel Stadium, Leverkusen got off to a good start and had the first offensive action through winger Moussa Diaby, who shot too imprecisely against Bruges keeper Simon Mignolet (9′). However, the guests did not dominate the event.
Bayer Leverkusen: Two Schick goals don’t count
Brugge kept looking for depth without becoming dangerous against well staggered Leverkusen. More dangerous for Bayer: Diaby tried again from a distance, Mignolet deflected the ball to the post with a remarkable save (28′). Hudson-Odoi was unable to convert the rebound.
Then the Rhinelanders were caught cold at a corner: Captain Hradecky parried a header from Sylla from close range, but slipped the ball over the goal line. Moments later, however, the Finnish international goalkeeper saved Kamal Sowah’s shot from worse.
After the break, Seoane’s team tried a lot again. However, good chances from Diaby and Mitchel Bakker shortly after the restart were unsuccessful. Bruges were waiting for a counterattack at their own stadium. In the final phase, two supposed equalizers by striker Patrik Schick were not given due to offside positions.
Club Brugge – Bayer Leverkusen: Data on the game
Bruges: Mignolet – Odoi, Mechele, Sylla – Onyedika (83rd Balanta), Meijer – Nielsen – Vanaken – Skov Olsen (83rd Sandra), Sowah (89th Sobol), Jutgla (64th Yaremchuk). – Coach: Hoefkens
Leverkusen: Hradecky – Kossounou, Tah, Hincapie, Bakker (Hlozek 67) – Aranguiz (Pacalios 46), Andrich (Demirbay 67) – Frimpong (Azmoun 86), Diaby, Hudson-Odoi (Amiri 86) – Schick. – Trainer: Seoane
referee: Irfan Peljto (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Gates: 1-0 Sylla (42′)
yellow cards: Sowah-Palacios, Andrich, Demirbay