- Chicharito scores 100th goal in European club competition.
- Leverkusen draw 1-1 away to Monaco.
- Werkself now face Dortmund at home on Saturday.
His nickname may mean 'little pea' but there is nothing diminutive about Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez's standing in the game after the Bayer 04 Leverkusen striker netted his 100th competitive goal in European club football on Tuesday night.
The Mexican peeled away from his marker in characteristic style away to AS Monaco in the UEFA Champions League, finding a pocket of space in the box to nod in Admir Mehmedi's cross in the 74th minute.
The goal looked to put Leverkusen on course for a deserved victory after they had dominated their hosts on the French Riviera, only for Monaco to equalise in the 94th minute. And while Chicharito's goal may not have been enough to secure all three points, reaching the 100-club nevertheless made it a special evening for the 28-year-old.
"Chicha told me when he was substituted off that it was his 100th goal," said Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt. "Unfortunately it wasn't the winner." He reached the milestone on his 237th game in Europe, following previous spells at Manchester United FC and Real Madrid CF. He has hit 21 Bundesliga goals in 32 league games for Leverkusen, plus an additional five in the DFB Cup and six in the Champions League, and has scored all five of the club's most recent goals.
Yet as impressive as those statistics are, Chicharito's contribution is always about more than just goals. In Monaco he was a constant blur of movement, holding the ball up well and forever hovering menacingly on the shoulder of the last man. "He worked really well and was one of the best players out there – and not just because he scored," enthused sporting director Rudi Völler afterwards.
"Obviously for me personally it's a highlight to score 100 goals in Europe, but I've got mixed feelings because we didn't win," Chicharito himself said. "Now we need to look forwards. On Saturday we're playing Borussia Dortmund and we want to improve our position in the Bundesliga table in that match."
If recent history is anything to go by that will be a difficult task, as Leverkusen have not beaten Dortmund at home in the Bundesliga in their last nine attempts, drawing five and losing four. Yet with an encouraging display in Monaco under their belts, and with Chicharito in red-hot form, Völler summed up the mood in the camp ahead of facing BVB: "I believe in the team, simply because we're good, we've got the right attitude and a good group of lads."
Watch: Chicharito's hat-trick against Mainz on Matchday 5: