Champions League: Leverkusen 1 – 0 Atlético

Atleti miss chance to secure an away goal and fall behind in tie

Torres'  ChampionsLeague debut, for Atleti, goal did not count.

Torres' ChampionsLeague debut, for Atleti, goal did not count.

Calhanoglu’s stunning strike was the difference in Bayer Leverkusen’s one-nil victory over Atlético in the BayArena.

The match started off slowly for both sides, but Bayer were more comfortable with the ball and Atleti was soaking up the pressure. Bayer’s first clear and dangerous chance came in the seventh minute, but the shot wasn’t a bother for Moyá.

Griezmann had a spectacular chance to put Atleti up in the eight minute, but he headed it wide. The Frenchman looked to believe that he was offside, but replays show that he was clearly onside.

The ball was stuck to the Bayer players’ feet and all the dangerous actions were coming from the Germans.

Other than the dire play shown in the first minutes of the opening half, things were getting worse for Atleti. Both Saúl and Siqueira had to be subbed off for Raúl García and Jesús Gámez respectively.

The Brazilian left-back was being caught out of position countless times and misplacing many passes before he was subbed off due to a cramp.

Saúl, the Spanish youngster, had to be subbed off and immediately taken to the hospital after he was elbowed in the kidney. Further evaluations regarding the midfielder’s condition will be announced shortly.

Leno was forced into action with a brilliant save after Tiago scissor kicked the ball. The German’s save was crucial to keeping things level at the break.

The Bayer players were constantly fouling the Atleti players and they had committed a total of 14 fouls in the first half alone. In comparison, Atleti only committed three fouls. Both sides saw one yellow card in the first half. Tiago was the man in red and white to see a booking in the first half. A booking that would haunt him in the second half.

The second half started off promising, as Atleti seemed determined to keep position.

However, the positive symptoms didn’t last long as Calhanoglu scored an absolute stunner in the 56th minute to make the game 1-0 for the Germans. The goal was the first that Moyá ever conceded in the Champions League.

Things got even worse for Atleti as Diego Godín saw a yellow card in the 60th minute. The Uruguayan will miss the match in the Calderón as he serves his one match suspension.

Just a few moments later one of the beautiful moments of the match was going to happen.

It took years to happen, but it finally did. Fernando Torres made his Champions League debut for Atlético after he came on for Arda Turan in the 65th minute.

It was almost a dream debut too, but Torres’ goal did not count as the ball had previously gone out of play.

Just moments later, Tiago made a reckless challenge and received his second yellow of the night. He too will miss the second leg in Madrid.

Atleti’s match was horrible and looking at some statistics, you can see why.

89 passes. 89 attempted passes the whole match. Only 70 were completed. In comparison, Bayer completed 184 out of 219 attempts. Atleti had no possession and did nothing with the ball all game.

Sometimes Atleti play poorly and somehow manage to win. Not this time. Atleti played poorly and was punished for it.

Atleti will have to turn the game around in the return leg on March 17.

Bayer Leverkusen Atlético Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen 10 Atlético Madrid
Calhanoglu 56 
Competition UEFA Champions League
Location BayArena, Leverkusen
Date 25 February 2015
Kick Off 20:45 CET

Team Lineups

Bayer Leverkusen
Emir Spahic
Roberto Hilbert
Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Son Heung-Min
Lars Bender
Hakan Calhanoglu
Gonzalo Castro
Karim Bellarabi
Josip Drmic
Substitutes used
Simon Rolfes-67'
Julian Brandt-88'
Stefan Kiessling-80'
Atlético Madrid
Miguel ÁngelMoyá
Joao Miranda
Diego Godín
Guilherme Siqueira
Saúl Ñiguez
Arda Turan
Mario Mandzukic
Antoinne Griezmann
Substitutes used
Raúl García-42'
Jesús Gámez-38'
Fernando Torres-64'

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
    I wish Simeone has realized that now, because he was the one who VOLUNTARILY let Oliver leave in the summer and let Cebolla leave in the winter
    Without Koke and Arda we were outplayed by Celta, and without Koke we were outplayed by Leverkusen
    Only 2 creative midfielders isn’t enough at all, we need at least 4, and we can have them next season without paying a nickel by bringing Oliver back and freeing one of the non-Eu spots for Correa
    But Oli & Angelito need to play .. a lot, so Simeone will need to REALLY learn how to rotate, because most of the rotations he made this season he was forced to do them
    Just one example from last Saturday :
    1- a game against a team that is 16th on the table
    2- in the Calderon
    3- in a CL week
    4- with Miranda having 4 yellow cards
    5- after Gimenez have proved himself
    6- and he didn’t play a single game in almost a month
    All that wasn’t enough, and Simeone insisted on Miranda, who was very shaky lately

    That’s why we keep suffering when we miss one or two key players, and I don’t think having a strong bench would have changed anything, because what good of a strong bench if good players are rotting on it ?!

    Anyway, 1-0 away isn’t a disaster, the disaster is to lose 2-1 or 3-1 at home like Man City & Arsenal
    Last season Chelsea came back from a bigger defeat against a stronger opponent, 3-1 vs PSG, that’s what big teams do, and we are a big team, but the problem this season is that we are not a big team everyday, one day we beat Real Madrid 4-0 and other days we lose against Celta or Olympiacos or Bayer
    So the outcome of the second leg will depend on which team will play, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde ?!

    But one thing is clear to me now :
    We will not win the champions league this season, even if we passed Leverkusen, and even if we got an easy draw in the 1/4 finals, Monaco or Basel or Porto, not Bayern or Barca or Chelsea or PSG
    And we will not win the league, no mater how many points Madrid and Barca will drop

    And that’s OK as long we finish at least 3rd and keep all our big names and renew for Simeone

  • AaX


  • Max Huber

    Of course it was a very disappointing performance so far, but I have to admit that Bayer played very strong – very hard, but strong! There were many problems in the performance of Atleti – first of all the uncreative midfield – there is no pressure up to the front, awful passes, just these ineffective long shots!! I really hate this! It´s awful to watch. The next thing was, that Mandzu and Griezmann were completely ineffective in front – maybe tired?? Torres was more intense and his goal should have counted, because it´s really hard to see, if the ball was out or not. His yellow card was unfair as well, because Son holded him and he just pushed him to get his place!! So I guess, the ref wasn´t a Torres-fan! I think that Simeone should start with Griezmann and Torres the next time because they really need more pace in front – and hopefully Koke is fit then!!! Atleti really need him!!

  • Urban

    Ahmad got it all right I think, i just have a few thoughts to add.

    Suprisingly, this defeat may do some good to us. It was a cold shower before the two most important league games of the rund, and should we play good on 17 March this result will not even matter. Everything is in our legs, I would happily take 0:1 against Leverkusen to get two good results (at least a win and a draw) in the next two league games.

    Losing Tiago for the second match is not that bad, Mario is really really weak but I think against Leverkusen who will be looking for quick counter attacks he might do even better than the Portugese as he is more solid in destruction.

    The bigger issue is the lack of Godin. Miranda and JMG duo showed against barce that they were completely unable to cope with quick counterplay, and this is exacly the medicine the Pharmacists will give us at VC.

  • Αθανάσιος Νικηταράς

    Little late 😛
    That was obvious from the beggining… Some victories against Real made me change my mind (about winning CL), but i don’t think we can this year… 3rd place isn’t that easy this year and we have 2 games now which will give us the 3rd place or will destroy us

  • “The Referees won the game” should be the title of any article for this game. I saw the review of the Torres’ goal multiple times and even the announcers were saying that the refs messed up. The yellow cards came out quickly for Atletico but were slow to appear for Bayer Leverkusen. Look at the first half numbers. 14 fouls to 3? That alone tells a story. Godin does one foul and gets an immediate yellow card. Saul get elbowed and set to the hosptial. nothing.

  • atleti10

    Not more, just better.

  • Those are the same players who won us La Liga and reached UCL final last season
    and the 4 key players who left (Courtois, Filipe, Villa & Costa) were replaced by players on the same level if not better (except Courotis, but if he was there he also would have conceded that goal)
    Siqueira has finally adapted and improved on defense, while on attack, he already was much better than Filipe
    Mandzukic’s numbers are the same as Costa’s last season, and better than his numbers with Chelsea this season
    And do I need to say that Grizi is way better than Villa of last season ?!

    The problem is that we still don’t have that strong bench yet, it’s stronger than last season, but still not enough

    We should be very thankful for those players after what they gave us in the last 3 seasons, not to ask to replace them after one or two or even 10 defeats .

  • I will go much further and say that this defeat could convince Simeone to renew his contract
    We started the negotiations with him while we are 3rd in La Liga (and not sure if we can even keep that position) and after being knocked out from the cup, and will still want him to renew even if we couldn’t make a comeback vs Bayer, this should make him feel how much we appreciate and trust him, while if he choose to go to P$G or Man Ci£y he will be fired after the very first failure

    About the absences, I don’t think they are a problem if we played our game
    Mario is weak, the majority will agree on that, but with him we won the Europa League final, Copa del Rey final, UEFA Super Cup, and this season he played the 90 minutes in 5 of the 6 games vs Real Madrid, and he came on as a sub on the 6th, and he played the whole game vs Juve in Italy

    We beat Atheltic in San Mames 4-1 without Koke & Mandzukic, we beat Chelsea 3-1 in S.Bridge without Gabi & Villa, we almost won the CL without Costa & Arda, and we beat Real Madrid 2-0 with Gamez, Gimenez & Lucas on the line-up and with Koke, Arda & Mandzukic on the bench

    We just need to be ourselves

  • pahas

    Something is going wrong with our team spirit and no effort in some games..if they believe in themselves like last year they have the strength to win one is weak in my opinion these players have achieved a lot don’t forget the previous years..we need a good game like real madrid to believe..some important games coming..a win over sevilla valencia and leverkusen can lead to the belief of both players and fans of winning la liga and ucl..we can achieve it..remember what simeone told:if you believe and you work for it then it’s possible..let’s go like last the team and stop complaining..the team and cholo must show that they still have big balls..vamos atleti

  • AaX

    They studied our game. Now we are studying theirs. They will be investing on quick wings counter attacks in numbers. If we get to neutralise this which We Should, We would Hopefully Then Be Well ON OUR WAY. Forza Atleti!

  • Palantine

    I do not agree about Siqueira defensively, I think defense is Atletico’s biggest issue this season and he is much weaker than Filipe Luis was during last season. Same with Courtois vs our current keepers like you mentioned. So that’s already two key positions where the team is lacking in my opinion. Add to that the fact that Miranda isn’t so good right now and Gabi who’s far from his majestic form of last season and we get the current result, a team that is very shaky defensively and that concedes unnecessarily goals and cards even when they are comfortably ahead.

    Atletico’s success was built on a solid defense first and foremost but it’s just not there this season, not at the same level at least.

  • atleti10

    No we had Diego, Felipe, Costa, Sosa, Toby, Tibo

    Im not talking about the starting 11 anyway I really like the first team but we have poor rotation options in the midfield bar Saul. Cani, Mario? not good enough! I dont think RG8 can play in the middle.

  • Chewie

    Siqueira is nowhere near Filipe. I saw a graph that showed that 55% of Bayer’s attacking play was through our left flank (and I bet it happens regularly). And guess where the goal came from?

    We can’t blame the management, though, fot it’s tough to replace the best defensive left-back in the world. At least they tried, bringing in Siqueira who did good in Benfica and Ansaldi who looked solid before getting injured. But in the end it all went to shit – Ansaldi is on the bench, Siqueira sucks and we have to use the right-back Gamez instead of him. Plus Siqueira has two red cards.

    Villa and Costa were replaced well, Griezmann and Mandzukic are a great duo, and Torres always was going to be a wild card, nobody expected him to shine.

    Jimenez and Oblak were risky moves, and it’s hard to evaluate them at the moment.

    Moya for 3m turned out to be a good deal. He’s not Courtois but you just don’t get great goalkeepers for that money. True, he could make a couple more saves but I would never blame him in our failures.

    And the failures, I believe, is mostly due to Siqueira being bad and the midfield being terrible. What happened to Gabi? In the first half of the season he made 5 assists and scored a goal. In 2015 he got 4 yellows and a red. Zero goals and assists. He already has 2 more red cards than last season, and we’re only half-way.

    Plus, Tiago and Gabi are not getting younger. The speedy players simply outrun them. And they have seemingly forgotten how to foul tactically. How many times last year Gabi and Tiago made clever fouls to stop the attacks without being sent off? Countless.

    In brief, we have several problems going on at the same time: lack of creativity, bad form or unreliablilty of central midfielders, injuries, shaky left-back, discipline(!), lack of rotation, ageing.

    In Russian, there’s a saying: order beats class. That’s what we did last season. This season, we have disorder and not enough class to compensate for it.

  • so you do agree with me, we need more players, especially in the midfield

  • I never said that Siqueira has reached Filipe’s level, but no one can deny that he has improved a lot defensively than what he was in the start of the season

    And I totally agree with you about Miranda, as I said many times : I wish Man Utd will be still interested in him next summer so we can make some cash from him like Valencia made from Mathieu
    I’m not being disloyal, Miranda is the one who is disloyal, he desperately tried to leave last summer, and in a very disgusting gesture he asked the club on the radio to reduce his clause
    (basically he asked his poor club to make a discount for the super rich Chelsea, Man Utd, Bayern or whoever else wanted him)
    Miranda is clearly from the type of Costa & Filipe and not from the type of Arda & Godin, so he better leave

    If it was up to me, next season I would sell Miranda and Toby -who is good but doesn’t fit in our system- and I will bring Velazquez back from Getafe and have an all-Uruguayan central defense
    and if Velazquez doesn’t have a European passport, I would loan Jimenez, just loan, because I feel he will explode like Costa and become a world-class striker

  • Siqueira was substituted before the goal, and he only played 38 minutes
    And the red card vs Almeria was removed, he will miss Sevilla game, but for injury
    This is not like you Chewie !

    Anyway, that doesn’t change the fact that he is shaky in defense, but as I said to Palantine : he is improving

    The only explanation I can think of about what happened to Gabi is the match-fixing case, all the Spanish media are saying that the court and the prosecution want to make an example and it’s almost sure that some of the 44 suspects will have jail time

    The sport management did a great job, in fact, Caminero & Berta both are wanted by many clubs, just like Simeone and half of our squad

    But I can easily blame Simeone, he didn’t have enough players because he can not rotate, he actually was the one who asked for a 21-player squad with a couple of players who can play in different positions like Ansaldi, Gamez, Koke and Saul, but that wasn’t enough
    Loaning a player like Oliver because you have 24 or 25 players is understandable, but doing that while you have 21 players and only 4 players in his position (including Cebolla who wasn’t playing) is very absurd

    Another thing I blame Simeone for is the lack of order and discipline that you have mentioned

    2 players broke their noses (Gamez broke it in training), Saul is still in the hospital in Germany after 3 days of the game and we are the “violent” team, a big part of that is because the nervousness and the protesting and “boot throwing” which is a reflection of Simeone
    You can protest, but you have to do it smartly

    Tomorrow we will play in Sanchez Pizjuan, against the real violent team who are leading the fouls-committed table from week 1 untill now, with an impressive 400 fouls in 24 games, and against a very violent fans and with a weak ref like Clos Gomez
    We will be kicked a lot, and Clos Gomez -like the ref of Bayer’s game- will not protect us, so how will Simeone and his players deal with that, will it be different than what happened against Barca and Bayer and other games or will they keep their bad habit of not learning from their mistakes ?!
    Will see

  • atleti10

    Yes but I feel we can let some go too as I understand why Simeone wants a small squad as he doesnt rotate a lot.

  • And about the goalkeepers :
    I agree with every single word you said about Moya, however, I really really believe that if we beat both Sevilla & Valencia, Simeone should give a couple of games to Oblak, who knows, maybe he is that world-class GK we’re looking for after all, but we can never know after just 7 games, none of them in La Liga

  • Chewie

    Damn, that’s what you get using unreliable sources) Anyway, the point was that the left-back position is really problematic, and everyone knows and uses that. Though I have to admit that Siqueira started improving, especially it was visible in the games where he had the space to run and wasn’t being pressed heavily.

    Oh yes, today we’ll see how the team does under pressure since Valencia won today.

  • Chewie

    Those disloyal Brazilians! Godin-Gimenez-Velazquez would be a killer trio. And I hope to see the home-grown midfield someday soon.