Die Werkself hot on the heels of Group A leaders Manchester United FC, and took them two points clear of their Ukrainian rivals.
After one of his most comfortable 90 minutes of the season, Bernd Leno was finally tested by the journalists, to whom he expressed his delight at Bayer's recent improvement and having laid down a marker as they seek to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Question: Bernd Leno, what did you make of the 4-0 victory?
Bernd Leno: It was a good performance from us. We didn't expect to win 4-0; Donetsk didn’t play the way they can, to be honest. We expected them to attack us more, but we did a good job and gave very little away.
Question: Are you relieved the team were able to put the recent events behind them?
Leno: Yes, a lot has been written, about the phantom goal against Hoffenheim. It was good to put that to one side with this win. It was never an issue within the team but it had been getting on our nerves. We wanted to show a response to it and that’s what we’ve done.
Question: How do you see Bayer’s position in Group A now?
Leno: It was important that we improved our goal difference in the head-to-head, as Donetsk are our direct rivals to go through. You could see we enjoyed ourselves today and, after making it 2-0, we still wanted to attack. Sometimes we get criticised for dropping down a gear when we go in front, but we didn't do that this evening. In fact we even went looking for a fifth goal. It’s great when the team rewards itself with such a great result.
Question: Does this win mean Bayer have now won the battle for second spot?
Leno: No, nothing has been decided yet. We’ve put Donetsk under pressure because they’ve got to win the return leg, and we’ve put ourselves in a good position, but no more and no less than that. We need to come back from Donetsk with something tangible, then our chances will look pretty good. It will be a completely different game there, though, because Donetsk will be more confident playing at home.
Question: Have you begun to tajke your chances more clinically in recent weeks?
Leno: We’ve got an added resilience abous, If you look at the games against FC Bayern Munich or Hoffenheim, we may not have been the better team but we still got a result. Against Donetsk, we took our chances well and that is the sign of a top team.
Question: How happy are you for Stefan Kießling, who was at the centre of the controversy surrounding the ghost goal in Hoffenheim?
Leno: I’m delighted. You could see by the way he celebrated. 'Kies' has had to stomach a lot in the past few days, and I don't think it was all justified. It all happened so quickly and a goal like that can be so confusing. Nobody really knew how the ball had gone in. That’s why I’m delighted for him that he’s shown everybody he can cope in difficult situations. You could also see that the fans and the team are right behind him. Hopefully that will bring an end to the issue because, like I’ve said, it’s been getting on everybody’s nerves. Now we turn our attention to Augsburg.
Question: You’ve touched on your next opponents in the Bundesliga. How strong are Augsburg?
Leno: They're a strong, fighting team who are even stronger this year than in the past two seasons. Last season, it was a very tight game which we only just edged 2-1. We’re certainly not going to underestimate them. They played well against Wolfsburg last weekend and we’re going to have to be at our very best to beat them. Winning that game would round the week off nicely.
Interview recorded by Tobias Gonscherowski
Check out Leno's masterful performance against Bayern on the Bundesliga's .official YoutTube channel