Status: 25.11.2021 8:45 p.m.
With a lot of effort, Bayer Leverkusen made it into the eighth finals of the Europa League early. Celtic Glasgow only broke in in the last ten minutes.
At 3: 2 (1: 1) on Thursday evening (November 25, 2021) Bayer made much more effort than necessary. In the end, it was still impressive how the Leverkusen team put up with a number of setbacks and finally managed to win with two wonderful goals.
Clearly considered, but not consistent enough
Actually, the game should have been decided in favor of the hosts at the break. Bayer dominated the midfield completely, Celtic looked like a punching ball, but Gerardo Seoane’s team missed the last punch in many situations.
Initially, Robert Andrich was almost exclusively focused on the goal. He headed and shot from all positions, in the 16th minute he was rewarded: After a corner from Florian Wirtz, Andrich ran from outside the penalty area and closed from eight meters with his head and placed against the direction of the keeper Joe Hart to 1: 0 from.
Hrádecký’s momentous blind flight
After that, the Leverkusen team took it a little more leisurely, but that didn’t hurt at first: The Scots kept hiding and played more as if they wanted to keep the deficit. Then Bayer goalkeeper Lukáš Hrádecký helped set up with a momentous blind flight through his five-meter space.
Jota’s high cross drove Jonathan Tah confidently with his head out of the danger zone, but Hrádecký also wanted to clear, misjudged himself completely and punched far past the ball – but instead fully against the head of Japanese Kyogo Furuhashi, who went down dazed.
Adventurous ignorance of the rules
It was astonishing that referee Anasthasios Sidiropoulos only decided on this clear penalty after studying video. But even more surprising were the numerous complaining Leverkusen who stormed the referees and complained heavily.
However, the execution of this penalty kick was quite brave: Josip Juranović spooned the ball in Panenka style onto the lower edge of the bar and from there over the line (40th).
Alu bad luck and a fit of arrogance
Bayer responded with an assault run and was also unlucky. Two minutes before the break, Moussa Diaby hit the right inside post from a half-right position. Florian Wirtz then wanted to use the ricochet with the outside instep in the empty goal – but his small fit of arrogance landed on the left post.
“We played a very good game, but something is still missing at the end,” said Bayer sports director Simon Rolfes aptly at the break. “Overall, we are very active and have improved enormously compared to our game against Bochum.”
Adli also closes too casually
The mentioned increase applied above all to the scenes in which Leverkusen played off the enormous increase in speed. In the 53rd minute, Diaby stormed away again after a fine Wirtz pass of the Celtic defense, but failed due to Hart. However, he let the ball ricochet forward and gave Amine Adli the chance to shoot into the empty goal. But similar to Wirtz before the break, Adli wanted to make it too casual, took the ball again and let it jump meters away from the foot – so Hart was able to clarify.
How to effectively and mercilessly punish the opponent’s mistakes was shown again by Glasgow: With their second shot on goal, the guests scored 2-1 (56th). Jeremie Frimpong had made a slip in his own sixteen, Jota used the cross pass from Furuhashi placed in the far corner.
Great goals from Andrich and Diaby
After that, Leverkusen struggled for a long time, only starting the final spurt in the last ten minutes. First Adli failed unhappy in front of the goal by shooting at Hart. Then the force of Andrich had to hold out again: Wirtz took a technically perfect break free, used Nadiem Amiri, who let the flank drain perfectly into the back area – Andrich hammered a 2-2 (82nd).
The winning goal was even nicer five minutes later. Wirtz initially waited in the Scots’ six-yard area for his own chance to finish, then lifted the ball over the entire defense of the Scots back to the edge of the penalty area. Then Diaby rushed up and gave Hart no chance with his volleyball hit in the left corner.