Leverkusen (dpa) – 73 days after the bitter end of the title dream on the doorstep, Bayer Leverkusen has reported impressively in the Europa League.
At the start of the group stage, Werkself defeated OGC Nice 6-2 (2-1). With the highest victory to date in the Europa League, the Bayer team laid the foundation for reaching the knockout round. In mid-August, the Leverkusen team started the final of last year’s competition as one of the favorites, but was then eliminated in the quarter-finals against Inter Milan (1: 2).
In contrast to the mixed league opener with six points from four games and 3-2 goals, Bayer presented itself more like in the previous season: offensively strong and defensive with problems. National players Nadiem Amiri (11th), Lucas Alario (16th), Moussa Diaby (61st), Joker Karim Bellarabi with a brace (79th / 83rd) and the younger Florian Wirtz (87th) scored the goals in heavy rain. The fourth at the table from France, for whom Amine Gouiri (31st) and Alexis Claude-Maurice (90th) scored, is next to Slavia Prague the strongest opponent in the group that completes the Israeli cup winner Hapoel Beer’Sheva.
“It was so important for us to start with a win,” said captain Lars Bender, noting some weaknesses as well: “It was not as easy as the result suggests. The result may be a bit high, but we are. glad we scored again. “
After it had been sunny all day with more than 20 degrees, a cloudburst suddenly fell on the roof of the stadium in Leverkusen 20 minutes before kick-off. When this calmed down after ten minutes of play, Bayer turned it up fifteen minutes and threw the five-man chain of the French, hosted by former Bayern three-time winner Dante (37), from one embarrassment to the next.
First, Amiri used the first chance to score his second goal in the 13th European Cup after a remarkable pass from Leon Bailey. Five minutes later, Alario hit from a sharp angle. And the extremely playful Bailey almost immediately made it 3-0, but Nice keeper Walter Benitez parried his shot from 22 meters. With the unnecessary goal, Bayer brought the Cote d’Azur guest back into play and was lucky enough to take the lead for empty rows during the break.
Even after the change, the Bundesliga club initially seemed to wobble before a very strong capture of the ball by Ezequiel Palacios led to the preliminary decision. The Frenchman Diaby served by him hardly cheered the goal out of respect for his fellow countrymen. Bellarabi’s double package and Talent Wirtz even gave the Dante team a debacle afterwards.