Bayer Leverkusen reached the UEFA Europa League round of 16 after beating Monaco on penalties at the end of an absorbing play-off tie.
Monaco 2-3 Bayer Leverkusen (5-5 on agg, Leverkusen win 5-3 on penalties)
Goals: 0-1 Wirtz 13' (assist: Frimpong) , 1-1 Ben Yedder (pen. 19'), 1-2 Palacios 21', 1-3 Adli 58' (assist: Wirtz), 2-3 Embolo 84' (assist: Diatta)
Trailing 3-2 in the tie following defeat on home soil, Leverkusen survived an early scare when Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder drilled just wide of the post. Bayer’s riposte was immediate as Amine Adli drew a brilliant save from Bayern Munich loanee Alexander Nübel, before Florian Wirtz applied the finishing touch to Jeremie Frimpong’s cross for the opening goal. Ben Yedder levelled from the penalty spot after Edmond Tapsoba was adjudged to have fouled Salim Ben Seghir, but Leverkusen were back in front within five minutes, thanks to Exequiel Palacios' unerring strike from the edge of the area.
Staying on the front front after the restart, Xabi Alonso’s men forged ahead on aggregate when Adli headed Wirtz’s cross past Nübel. Ben Yedder responded with a fierce shot against the crossbar, before Bayer’s Mitchel Bakker had a goal ruled out for offside. Hlozek tickled the side netting and Lukas Hradecky kept Ben Seghir at bay in an edge-of-the-seat finale, with Patrik Schick thrown on in the final stages to help see the result over the line. However, a late headed goal from ex-Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Breel Embolo forced extra time.
Bakker was denied by Nübel’s outstretched leg and Hradecky made a flying save to prevent ex-teammate Kevin Volland from firing in a dramatic winner. In the ensuing shootout, substitutes Sardar Azmoun and Nadiem Amiri put Leverkusen in control, before Eliot Matazo hit Ajax’s second spot-kick against the woodwork. Edmond Tapsoba, Schick and Moussa Diaby duly held their nerve as Bayer took their place in the last-16 draw alongside Bundesliga rivals and upcoming opponents Freiburg - and potentially Union Berlin.
- Leverkusen are through to the Europa League round of 16 for the third time. The club's deepest run was to the quarters, in 2019/20, when they lost a one-legged tie 2-1 to Inter Milan.
- Since the start of the 2020/21 campaign, 19-year-old Wirtz has been directly involved in 14 Europa League goals (seven goals and as many assists). The only teenager with more goal involvements in major European competition in that time is Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham (eight goals, six assists).
- Alonso oversaw his first win in UEFA competition as Bayer coach (D2, L2).
- Leverkusen's overall record against French opponents is: W9, D4, L8. Their last visit to face Ligue 1 opposition also ended in a 3-2 victory (vs. Nice in the 2020/21 Europa League)
- Nübel made one Bundesliga appearance for Bayern in 2020/21 and, prior to that, 46 appearances in the German top flight with Schalke.
- Volland scored 44 goals in 115 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen between 2016 and 2020.
Monaco: Nübel - Matsima (Diop 61'), Disasi, Sarr, Henrique - Diatta (Volland 110'), Fofana, Matazo (Camara 70'), Golovin (Boadu 78') - Ben Seghir (Jakobs 78'), Ben Yedder (c) (Embolo 78')
Unused subs: Didillon, Minamino, Akilouche, Magassa, Gelson Martins, Okou
Out: Vanderson (knee)
Coach: Philippe Clement
Leverkusen: Hradecky (c) - Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie - Frimpong (Diaby 103'), Palacios, Andrich, Bakker - Wirtz (Azmoun 115') - Adli (Amiri 74'), Hlozek (Schick 70')
Unused subs: Pentz, Lomb, Kossounou, Demirbay, Hudson-Odoi, Fosu-Mensah, Azhil, Bellarabi
Out: Aranguiz (calf), Lunev (ineligible)
Coach: Xabi Alonso
As it happened
That's it! Leverkusen are into the Europa League knockouts. Diaby's penalty is almost saved by Nübel but that ball clatters the keeper's gloves and bounces in. Moussa Diaby is B04's hero. 3-5.
The former Leverkusen man beats Hradecky and Monaco pull to within one. 3-4
Schick finds the corner with ease. 2-4
Cool, calm and collected from the ex Schalke and Gladbach man, who sends Hradecky the wrong way. 2-3
The B04 man wellies one straight up into the top corner. Super penalty. 1-3
The young midfielder clatters his penalty against the crossbar. Advantage Leverkusen. 1-2
Nübel guessed right but Amiri's penalty was perfectly placed in the corner. 1-2
The Monaco defender almost takes the net off the goal with a powerful spot-kick. 1-1
Azmoun walks up and does one of those jumps before finishing style pens. Leverkusen lead.
Azmoun to strike first
Leverkusen will take the night's first penalty
There goes the full time whistle in extra time. Penalties it is for a place in the Europa League knockouts.
Diaby volleys into the side netting and that might well be that. Penalties here we come.
So close Volland
Volland connects with a diving header and Hradecky pulls off a huge save to parry the effort out. The ex Bayer man had the tie in his hands there. Big relief for the visitors.
One last throw of the dice for the visitors, who bring off the spent Florian Wirtz and throw Sardar Azmoun on.
Diaby on the move
Diaby is fresh, however, and the Leverkusen attacker blazes down the right, only to be forced out at a crucial moment.
Both sets of players are really feeling the strain of this now. It's been an energy sapping evening in the principality.
Volland makes entrance
Ex Bayer Leverkusen favourite Kevin Volland is on in place of the injured Diatta.
Away we go ...
So, the second half of extra time is now underway. Are we to have a winner here or will this incredible tie go all the way to penalties?
Half time in extra time
We head towards the second half of extra time with these two sides locked at 5-5 on aggregate.
Moussa Diaby is in the mix now as the previously injured attacker replaces Frimpong, who has had a solid night.
Palacios topples Embolo and that's a free kick for the Monaco forward, plus a yellow card for the Leverkusen man.
Matazo takes aim
Matazo's shot from the left is deflected over the top. The corner produces nothing.
B04 start strongly
Two big chances for Leverkusen. Wirtz works Schick in for a shot, which is blocked. Bakker then storms through on the right and shoots low, only for Nübel to deflect wide.
Extra time underway
Leverkusen get the first half of extra time up and running.
Extra time ahead
The referee brings the 90 minutes to an end and with this tie standing at 5-5 on aggregate, we're heading for an extra 30 minutes.
Diop had the ball in the net and the home fans thought the game was over. Jakobs failed to keep the ball in before striking his cross, however, and it doesn't count.
We'll have three minutes of time added on. Can either side find a winner?
Embolo's late effort is deflected wide of the upright by Hincapie. The corner is dealt with by the visitors.
30 more minutes?
Extra time is looming. As things stand, we're set for an extended period. Monaco are edging this tie right now but the outcome is still up in the air.
Hosts draw level
A simple goal and Monaco are level on aggregate. Diatta's centre is met by an Embolo header that bounces up into the far corner.
Leverkusen closing in
Bayer have ten minutes to hold on for what would be a massive morale booster here after some rocky results of late. Can Xabi Alonso's men keep Monaco at bay for the closing stages?
Monaco make a triple change and among those to come on is former Schalke and Borussia Mönchengladbach forward, Breel Embolo.
Here comes Amiri
Another of those who was on target at the weekend, Nadiem Amiri, is given his chance to shine at the Stade Louis-II.
Leverkusen fall asleep in defence momentarily and Eliesse Ben Seghir is given the perfect opportunity to score, which he doesn't take. Hradecky is down to make a big save.
Xabi Alonso throws Patrik Schick into the mix. Surely that's the last thing Monaco wanted to see. The Czech marksman was on target at the weekend in Mainz. Can he finish this tie off?
Again they come
It's Hlozek's turn to have a go at goal and the Czech's low drive from just inside the box shaves the side netting. Mighty close.
B04 still attacking
A lovely move involving Wirtz, Bakker and Frimpong ends with the latter just blocked out at the last. Nübel grabs hold of the subsequent cross from the corner.
Bayer with the chancesThe visitors have has 12 attempts on goal to Monaco's five thus far.
Andrich upends Ben Seghir, who was in full flow. That's a booking for the Leverkusen midfielder.
Leverkusen have the ball in the nest again, but Bakker was inches offside before racing through and firing in at the near post.
Almost Ben Yedder
Oooohh, Monaco are THIS close to levelling the tie up. Ben Yedder goes on a tasty run and smacks a rising shot that has Hradecky beaten. The ball batters the underside of the bar and bounces away.
Adli fires B04
Would you believe it! Leverkusen have only gone and scored again to take a 5-4 aggregate lead! Wirtz floats a perfect ball towards the far post where Adli rises to head back across Nübel and into the corner.
Both sides have had 50 per cent possession to this point. Hard to pick a winner from here but Leverkusen have certainly had the better of the evening's chances.
Monaco forge forward
Diatta makes space for himself down the right and belts a cross high into the box. The centre lands on top of the goal net.
Frimpong in fine form
More great work from Frimpong down the right as Leverkusen's No. 30 wins a corner off Caio Henrique. The set piece comes to nothing.
The ball is rolling in the second half ...
A super game sees B04 leading on the night against Monaco after a flurry of three goals in eight minutes in the contest. Palacios and Wirtz hit the target for the visitors, who have levelled this tie on aggregate.
Yellow for Fofana
Fofana man handles Wirtz and then starts protesting a little too strongly. The Monaco midfielder is booked.
Leverkusen's 750 travelling fans are, perhaps unsurprisingly, making all of the noise inside the Stade Louis-II right now.
Hlozek takes aim
Leverkusen break and it's suddenly four on three. Hlozek batters a shot from distance and Nübel throws a hand up to block. That effort was a tad too central to really trouble the Monaco goalkeeper.
Visiting pass masters
Bayer have just hit the 200 pass mark with Monaco trailing on 170. Xabi Alonso's side lead 2-1 and it's 4-4 on aggregate, lest we forget.
No go Ben Yedder
Golovin's corner comes al the way across to Ben Yedder but the ball has too much bounce for the France international to be able to control properly and the chance is gone.
End-to-endThis game has been a thrill a minute. We've had ten shots so far, with Leverkusen managing seven of those. Top stuff from the visitors in the principality.
Hradecky in control
Hradecky comes off his line and leaps to catch Fofana's menacing centre.
Amazing! Leverkusen hit straight back and are in the lead again after Palacios drilled past Nübel at the near post from Hlozek's cut back.
Ben Yedder from the spot
Ben Yedder hits the calmest of penalties right into the corner of the net, with Hradecky diving in the opposite direction. Monaco are back in front on aggregate.
The referee's whistle shrills into the night after Tapsoba downs Ben Seghir in the box.
Wirtz and in!
Leverkusen are in front on the night and level on aggregate. Some super work from Frimpong down the right sees the full back dragging a cross into the danger zone. Nübel goes down to deal with it but he's got defenders challenging in there too. The ball pops out to Wirtz who taps in!
Brilliant stuff from Adli, who works himself an angle to shoot from the right hand side of the Monaco area. Adli's shot has top corner written all over it, until Nübel intervenes with a flying, two handed save. A fine stop.
Easy stop for Nübel
Bakker taps to Palacios who toe-pokes a daisy cutter straight into the arms of Nübel.
Adli upends Caio Henrique on the flank. The referee issues a warning to the Bayer man. From the resulting free kick, Fofana deflects wide.
Monaco go close
Diatta does brilliantly down the right, the Senegalese using his pace and accuracy to cut a pass back in for Ben Yedder who takes a touch to control before drilling inches past the far post.
Bakker fires one off
Wirtz frees Bakker on the left and the Dutchman slams a shot into the side-netting. Solid start from Leverkusen here.
Wissam Ben Yedder knocks the ball from the centre spot and we're off and running.
The Europa League anthem is sounding out at the Stade Louis-II. All that's left are the handshakes and we'll be on our way in this knockout round play-off second leg. Bayer trailing 3-2 from the corresponding fixture, don't forget.
As we await the teams, it's worth noting that the form guide favours the hosts here. Monaco go into this one on the back of five consecutive wins in all competitions while Bayer have lost four of their last five. A big test awaits for the Werkself ...
Bayer have 750 supporters inside the Stade Louis-II for this evening's game and they are already making plenty of noise.
Here's more from B04 coach Alonso on the importance of tonight's encounter: "We know our task. We have to win to get to extra time or go directly to the next round. We know the importance of the game for the club and we will fight for it."
B04 team newsLeverkusen had hoped to have Moussa Diaby available to start this one but that the 23-year-old has recovered sufficiently from the thigh complaint that saw him miss last weekend's loss against Mainz to feature on the bench this evening will come as a boost for boss Xabi Alonso. Amine Adli coming into the side is one of two changes from the first leg, Mitchel Bakker replacing Nadiem Amiri is the other. Patrik Schick - who scored on Sunday - continues his journey back to full match fitness with a spot on the bench here.
Monaco team news
The hosts are showing just one change to the side that started last weekend's 2-1 win away to Brest. Mohamed Camara is in for Eliot Matazo in midfield, the latter dropping to the bench.
Pentz, Lomb, Kossounou, Azmoun, Demirbay, Amiri, Schick, Hudson-Odoi, Diaby, Fosu-Mensah, Azhil, Bellarabi
Bayer Starting XI
Hradecky (c) - Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie - Frimpong, Palacios, Andrich, Bakker - Wirtz - Adli, Hlozek
Didillon, Boadu, Jakobs, Matazo, Minamino, Akilouche, Volland, Embolo, Magassa, Diop, Gelson Martins, Okou
Monaco Starting XI
Nübel - Matsima, Disasi, Sarr, Henrique - Diatta, Fofana, Matazo, Golovin - Ben Seghir, Ben Yedder (c)
Alonso outlines approach
Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso is clear on the mindset he wants to see tonight. He said: "We have to find the right balance between emotion and control. We learned a lot from the first leg, so we have a clear plan. It’s important we take risks at the right time."
Familiar foe in goalMonaco goalkeeper Alexander Nübel is currently on loan to the Ligue 1 side from Bayern Munich. He has conceded six goals in four matches against Leverkusen - the first three of which came while he was at Schalke (before joining Bayern).
© Lars Baron/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images
Wirtz welcomed backCheck out how eagerly awaited the teenager's recent return from injury was!
Wirtz back and boosted
Having missed close to a year of action with a cruciate ligament injury, 19-year-old creative prodigy Florian Wirtz netted his first goal of the season following his return in last Thursday's first leg. He was rested from the starting XI against Mainz on Sunday, so we expect to see him trying to orchestrate the Leverkusen attack from the start tonight.
Leverkusen sweating on Diaby fitnessYoung French talent Moussa Diaby scored a superb goal in the first leg last week, but had to miss Leverkusen's defeat to Mainz on Sunday due to a thigh strain. It will be a big boost to the Bundesliga side's hopes if he can feature tonight. Coach Xabi Alonso said yesterday: "We will weigh up the risks with the medical department and Moussa."
© Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Get set for a decisive Europa League tie!
Thanks for joining us to follow the match here - it'll be a big night for Leverkusen in Monaco, as they have to overturn a 2-3 first-leg deficit to make the UEFA Europa League's last 16. So it's win or bust in Monte Carlo for Die Werkself!
First-leg report: Bayer Leverkusen 2-3 Monaco
Goals: 0-1 Hradecky (o.g. 9’), 1-1 Diaby (48’), 2-1 Wirtz (59’), 2-2 Diatta 74’, 2-3 Disasi (90’+2)
Leverkusen made a relatively confident start as Moussa Diaby tested Bayern Munich-owned goalkeeper Alexander Nübel from range. However, an unfortunate slip from goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky whilst under pressure from ex-Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Breel Embolo gifted Monaco the lead. Bayer were largely reduced to speculative efforts, until Nübel was called on to dive at the feet of Nadiem Amiri late in the first half. Monaco went on the offensive almost immediately, but Krepin Diatta could not find a way past Hradecky with a shot from inside the area.
Leverkusen had been uncharacteristically flat in the first 45, but whatever Xabi Alonso said at the half-time break worked. Florian Wirtz was the catalyst for a stirring - albeit brief - turnaround, with a fine ball out to Jeremie Frimpong, who cutback for Diaby to glide between two defenders and tuck between the legs of Nübel. The German teenager added a fabulous solo effort moments later, dancing past five defenders before firing beyond Nübel’s despairing dive. Diatta curled in a stunning equaliser to set up a grandstand finale in which Hradecky thwarted Ben Yedder and Adam Hlozek hit the woodwork, before Axel Disasi smashed in a last-gasp winner.