Bruges Bayer 04 Leverkusen lost 1-0 at FC Brugge in their Champions League opener. The goal came after a gross error by Lukas Hradecky, and a slight offside position prevented the equaliser.
Robert Andrich has never lacked self-confidence. When the professional was still playing for SV Wehen-Wiesbaden in the third division a few years ago, he firmly believed that one day he would be on the big football stage. “Five or six years ago I said: When I’m 27, I’ll play in the Champions League,” Andrich emphasized recently. Born in Potsdam, he ended up at Bayer Leverkusen via stints at 1. FC Heidenheim and Union Berlin. And now, at the age of 27, he made his debut in the premier class with the Werkself. For him and the Rhinelanders, however, it was a 0:1 (0:1) defeat at FC Brugge.
His coach Gerardo Seoane made four changes to the starting XI of the troubled Leverkusen team compared to the 3-2 defeat against Freiburg last weekend. Piero Hincapie, Mitchel Bakker, Charles Aránguiz and Chelsea loanee Callum Hudson-Odoi were allowed to start in place of Edmond Tapsoba, Exequiel Palacios, Kerem Demirbay and Daley Sinkgraven.
In the early stages, Leverkusen gave Bruges the ball at first, but in return recorded the first offensive action of the game. Moussa Diaby’s attempt from a distance was easy prey for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet (9′). The Werkself let the home side come and watched for moments of change. Diaby checked the Belgian goalkeeper again after 27 minutes. This time Mignolet had to stretch to steer the ball to the post.
Bayer had the better chances, but as so often this season, the opponent scored the goal. Abakar Sylla made it 1-0 with a header from a corner kick (42′) – with a lot of help from Bayer goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, who fell behind the goal line with the ball in his hand.
After the change of sides, the spectators in the Jan Breydel Stadium saw a different picture: with the lead behind them, Bruges gave the visitors a little more space. The Werkself, on the other hand, dared more, but often lacked precision in their actions. Sometimes the last pass didn’t arrive, sometimes the pros from Leverkusen were too hesitant to finish.
Seoane responded and brought on two fresh attacking players midway through the second half in Kerem Demirbay and Adam Hlozek. In the final phase, the 1,259 Leverkusen fans who had traveled with them cheered for Patrik Schick’s alleged equalizer (72′). However, as Jonathan Tah was offside on the cross, the referee took the goal back. The TV pictures showed that only Tah’s toe had prevented the equalizer. In the last few minutes, Leverkusen pushed to make it 1-1, but Brugge defended passionately and brought the win home.
The Bayer team will now play at Hertha BSC on Saturday. Kick-off in the Olympic Stadium is at 3:30 p.m. The factory club’s next opponent in the Champions League is next Tuesday (9 p.m.) Atlético Madrid.
Here is the photo gallery: Brugge – Bayer 04: the pictures of the game
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