Bayer 04 Leverkusenfailed to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter finals, suffering a 6-1 aggregate loss to Paris Saint-Germain
Bayer 04 Leverkusenfailed to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter finals, suffering a 6-1 aggregate loss to Paris Saint-Germain

Leverkusen knocked out by Ibrahimovic and Co.

Paris - Bayer 04 Leverkusen restored a measure of pride with a purposeful performance, but couldn’t do enough to overturn Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 first leg lead as their UEFA Champions League run was brought to an end in the French capital courtesy of a 2-1 loss.

Aerial battle

Sidney Sam grabbed an early opener, but any hoes of pulling off the most unlikely of comebacks were soon dashed when Marquinhos levelled seven minutes later. Simon Rolfes’ missed penalty handed Paris control of proceedings as Ezequiel Lavezzi grabbed the only goal of the second half before Emre Can’s sending off, as Bayer 04 again failed to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002.

With a four-goal first-leg deficit and facing a side unbeaten against German opposition on home soil, Leverkusen threw caution to the wind and looked the far likelier to score during the early exchanges. Salvatore Sirigu was on hand to palm Emre Can’s speculative effort behind for a corner, but was then powerless to prevent his side falling behind as Bayer reaped the rewards of an energetic opening, Sam rising highest to head Giulio Donati’s pin-point cross in at the far post.

Paris wasted little time in getting to grips with proceedings, however, and soon restored parity. Bernd Leno stuck out a foot to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic following Ömer Toprak’s wasteful pass, only to be beaten despite his best efforts when Marquinhos met the ensuing corner with a thumping header. Sensing vulnerability, the hosts promptly came within a lick of paint of taking the lead when Edinson Cavani dispossessed Can to play in Ibrahimovic, whose delightful chip came back off the crossbar.

Lavezzi strikes

Leverkusen’s lack of composure in the final third was making life easy for their hosts as they all too regularly tried to force through a final ball under pressure. The visitors were handed a lifeline when Christophe Jallet hauled down Eren Derdiyok inside the area, but they failed to capitalise as Rolfes saw his spot-kick saved by Sirigu. The French side duly responded, yet couldn’t get the better of Leno, whose keen reflexes ensured the sides went in level at the break.

The entertainment value of the encounter showed no signs of diminishing after the break, with the hosts maintaining the momentum they generated in the first half and taking the lead for the first time less than ten minutes after the restart. Lucas Digne outmuscled Can out wide and showed great presence of mind to cut the ball back to Lavezzi, who tucked the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

Calm conclusion

Far from raising the white flag, though, Leverkusen bounced back from falling behind and twice went close to snatching an immediate equaliser as Donati and Gonzalo Castro were both denied by the sprawling Sirigu. Head coach Sami Hyypiä attempted to address his side’s lack of cutting edge in the final third by introducing Heung-Min Son and 17-year-old Julian Brandt off the bench.

However, things only went from bad to worse for the visitors when Can followed in the footsteps of the suspended Emir Spahic by picking up his second booking of the game with just over 20 minutes left to play. With a man-advantage and Leverkusen needing to score five, Paris demonstrated no urgency in wanting to compound their visitors’ misery and, save for a late Javier Pastore effort, let proceedings peter out as they booked their place in the last eight. Leverkusen, meanwhile. Must pick themselves up quickly for their next Bundesliga encounter: a trip to champions FC Bayern München on Saturday.


Paris: Sirigu - Jallet, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Digne - Cabaye - Pastore, Rabiot - Cavani (Camara, 85'), Ibrahimovic (Menez, 72'), Lavezzi (Lucas, 62')

Leverkusen: Leno - Donati, Wollscheid, Toprak, Guardado - Reinartz (Wagener, 78') - Can, Rolfes - Sam (Brandt, 67'), Derdiyok, Castro (Son, 67')

Goals: 0-1 Sam (6'), 1-1 Marquinhos (13'), 2-1 Lavezzi (53')

Red Cards: Can (68' second bookable offence)

James Thorogood