Bayer Leverkusen clinched a win at BK Häcken and, after their fifth win in their fifth game, they are straight into the round of 16 of the Europa League as league leaders.
Leverkusen beat Swedish team BK Häcken 2-0 (1-0) on Thursday evening in freezing temperatures. Patrik Schick scored his first competitive goal since February after a long injury break. Leverkusen is now directly in the round of 16 and saves the detour via the playoffs against a relegated team from the Champions League.
“I’m very happy that I was able to score a goal. It was very emotional after such a long time”said Schick after the game on RTL.
Alonso switches to eight positions
Coach Xabi Alonso changed the starting eleven to eight positions. Only Robert Andrich, Victor Boniface and Piero Hincapié were in the starting line-up in the 3-0 win in the Bundesliga against Werder Bremen. National player and top performer Florian Wirtz was missing due to muscular problems.
With the outside temperature below zero degrees, Leverkusen started with a lot of control of the game in Gothenburg. However, it took just under a quarter of an hour for the first chance to score. And Bayer uses them ice cold straight away. The ball landed via Nathan Tella to Josip Stanisic, who crossed the ball precisely into the penalty area onto Boniface’s head. Bayer’s striker effortlessly headed in from five meters for a 1-0 lead (14th).
Leverkusen managed – hacking becomes dangerous
There wasn’t much going on offensively on both sides afterwards. After one of the rare scenes in the penalty area, Boniface received a yellow card for a swallow (25th). Häcken, who had only scored two goals in their previous four games, became more courageous after half an hour and had three chances to equalize within a few seconds. But neither Mikkel Rygaard, Ishaq Abdulrazak or Edward Chilufya were able to overcome Leverkusen’s goalkeeper Matej Kovar, who initially wobbled but finally grabbed hold (32′).
Bayer switched to management mode and Häcken looked for deals. Abdulrazak checked Bayer’s Kovar again. The shot from almost 20 meters landed treacherously just in front of the goal, but in the end the goalkeeper parried safely (39′).
Leverkusen suddenly has a double chance
Häcken went into the locker room with a shot ratio of 5:1. However, the Bundesliga leaders scored the only goal. And even after the break, the Swedish underdog remained courageous and tried to set an offensive tone.
The biggest chances of the second half belonged to Leverkusen out of nowhere. First, after a strong pass from Adam Hlozek, Admin Adli appeared in front of Häcken keeper Peter Abrahamsson, who parried the half-high shot (65th). At the ensuing corner, Abrahamsson first dropped the ball and then cleared it against substitute Noah Mbamba (66′).
Send with his first goal since February
Bayer stayed on the trigger. Stanisic used his space on the right and served Patrik Schick, who was also a substitute, in an exemplary manner in the penalty area. The 27-year-old shot straight away and made it 2-0 (74th). All Leverkusen players celebrated with style in front of the dugout. It was the striker’s first goal in 284 days on his comeback.
With five wins from five games Bayer Leverkusen to no longer take the lead in Group H. The Werkself continue in the Bundesliga on Sunday in the top game against Borussia Dortmund (5.30 p.m.).