Leverkusen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen blew UEFA Champions League Group E wide open with victory over Real Sociedad de Futbol on Wednesday.

It's still early days in Europe's premier competition, but substitute 's spectacular last-gasp winner puts die Werkself right back in contention, just a point behind English Premier League Champions Manchester United FC and Ukrainian giants FC Shakhtar Donetsk after two games.


"It was really important for us to win this game," explained Hegeler. "The elation is doubled when you decide it so late on. We're really pleased about the three points. For me it's a great feeling. It was my first Champions League game. To come on so late and grab the winning goal is indescribable."

Although the perfect response to last week's sorry defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Leverkusen admittedly found the going tough yet again on the European stage. "We didn't play well in the second half," said 2012/13 Bundesliga top goalscorer Stefan Kießling. "Then we gave away a stupid penalty. That upset us a bit, but we showed we wouldn't give up. You could see how much we wanted to win and we fought until the end. And it paid off."

'Luck played its part'

Only just, mind. Indeed, had 85th-minute substitute Hegeler not ignored the advice of team-mate and Werkselfleading scorer Kießling, Leverkusen might have been staring at an altogether different result come the full-time whistle at the BayArena.

"I had a little discussion with [him] beforehand," recalled Leverkusen's matchwinner after finding the net from a 25-yard free kick. "He said I should whip the ball in at all costs. I thought about it, but the position was so enticing - that's why I decided to go for goal. I wasn't all that surprised that it went in. I did the same thing three weeks ago in a friendly. Luck of course played its part for it to happen in a competitive game as well."

Five-star Kießling

Another dose of good fortune would certainly not go amiss in this weekend's crunch clash at home to European champions FC Bayern München, who looked in ominously good form in their dominant Group D win over Manchester City FC, stretching their unbeaten run this season to twelve in all competitions.

In any case, Leverkusen just about have the formbooks on their side, with two wins from their last three games against the quadruple winners, not to mention a striker in Kießling who has got the better of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on more occasions (five) than any other player in the Bundesliga. "Where do you get these stats from?" he chuckled. "That's cool, but we'll have to see. I'm looking forward to the game." Aren't we all?

Christopher Mayer-Lodge