Bayer Leverkusen can't get out of the downward spiral: After a weak start to the season in the Bundesliga, it also starts with a defeat in the Champions League. Against the supposedly weakest opponents in the group, it is not enough to score one's own goal, but the goalkeeper makes a decisive mistake.
New competition, old suffering: due to a fatal mishap by goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky, Bayer Leverkusen also started the Champions League with an avoidable defeat. The Werkself lost 1-0 (0-1) at Belgian champions FC Brugge on Wednesday and have now lost six of seven competitive games in all competitions. To make matters worse, two goals from Patrick Schick (73rd/77th) were disallowed on Wednesday for being offside.
Significant: As so often in recent weeks, Abakar Sylla (41') made it 0-1 after a corner kick, although this time captain Hradecky looked anything but good. He actually already had Sylla's header, but fell into the goal with the caught ball. Little consolation for the Finn: UEFA did not count the goal as an own goal. In the group with Atlético Madrid and FC Porto, Leverkusen are already under a lot of pressure before the home game against the Spaniards next Tuesday.
Leverkusen didn't even think the match at the Jan Breydel Stadium was bad. The team coached by Gerardo Seoane was unusually deep and let the hosts have the ball. However, Bruges did not initially pose a real threat. On the contrary: Bayer striker Moussa Diaby (8th) had the first chance, after a nice solo shot from 16 meters. A little later, Bruges goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved against the Frenchman in dire need and deflected another long-range shot (28th) to the post.
So things were going really well for Bayer - until Hradecky's unsuccessful rescue attempt gave the hosts the lead. As in the weeks before, Seoane's team didn't really have that much to blame, apart from their own negligence. New signing Callum Hudson-Odoi also did well in his starting XI debut and enlivened the game, but the Englishman did not score a goal either. This pattern, which is not new, was also evident in Belgium: Bayer made far too little of their chances. Schick, Diaby, Hudson-Odoi or Jeremie Frimpong were all unsuccessful. The tactical change at half-time didn't change that.
After the break, Seoane played with a back four and Hudson-Odoi on the ten, which at least changed the game's statics. Bayer now dominated the ball, Bruges stood deep and managed the lead. Seoane also added personnel and brought in new offensive players such as Adam Hlozek and Kerem Demirbay. But that had no effect either. Leverkusen only had hope for a short time when Schick (73') headed into the goal after a cross. Because Jonathan Tah had previously pushed his opponent from offside, the goal was disallowed after viewing the video images. Shortly thereafter, Schick scored again, but was ruled offside. Again the VAR took the goal back.