Bayer Leverkusen picked up a morale-boosting 3-0 win over AS Monaco - their first victory in five - to conclude their UEFA Champions League Group E campaign in second place with 10 points.
Goals: 1-0 Yurchenko (30’), 2-0 Brandt (48’), 3-0 Wendell (p.g. 81’)
Leverkusen lined up with an attacking 4-4-2 formation and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez nearly took full advantage inside the first 10 minutes, but his thumping first-time shot was tipped over the bar by Monaco ‘keeper Morgan De Sanctis. Julian Baumgartlinger then fizzed a shot wide before Roger Schmidt’s men finally broke the deadlock on the half-hour, with Yurchenko finding space on the edge of the visitors’ box before unleashing an unstoppable shot high into De Sanctis’ goal.
Leverkusen started the second half as they ended the first, firmly in the ascendancy, and Julian Brandt gave Die Werkself breathing space with a smart finish minutes after the restart having linked up well with Hakan Calhanoglu. Monaco rarely threatened and there was an air of inevitability about the hosts’ third, although Wendell was fortunate to see his penalty eventually cross the line via the crossbar and De Sanctis as it ended 3-0 at the BayArena.
Man of the Match
Yurchenko shone on his first season start, breaking up Monaco’s attempts to build in midfield, completing 24 passes and capping off his first performance since April with a stunning opening goal.
With Yurchenko and Ramazan Özcan making their first starts of the season, Bayer coach Roger Schmidt can hold his head high with his side having out-performed the top scoring team in Europe’s five major leagues. How far can they go with the likes of Charles Aranguiz, Bernd Leno and Benjamin Henrichs set return to the starting line-up?
- Leverkusen remain unbeaten at home in European competition since September 2014 - a game in which Monaco prevailed 1-0.
- Yurchenko scored his first ever continental goal.
- Die Werkself inflicted defeat on Monaco for the first time in 10 games for the principality club.
Leverkusen: Özcan - da Costa, Jedvaj, Dragovic, Wendell - Baumgartlinger, Yurchenko (Henrichs 76’) - Calhanoglu (Aranguiz 67’), Brandt (Kruse 71’) - Kießling (c), Chicharito
Coach: Roger Schmidt
Monaco: De Sanctis - Touré, Raggi, Jemerson, Diallo - N'Doram - Moutinho, Boschilia (Traore 67’) - Dirar (c), Carrillo (Lemar 79’), Jean (Germain 76’)
Coach: Leonardo Jardim