Die Werkself played some electric stuff following their opening Group C defeat to Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco FC a fortnight ago, with the final 3-1 scoreline telling only a fraction of the tale at the BayArena on Matchday 2.
'We deserved to win'
"It was great fun," enthused Leverkusen playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu. "Benfica have got some great individuals, but we played brilliantly as a team right from the start. We don't underestimate anyone. We were strong defensively and attacked really well. We were the stronger side. They had no chance. I think we deserved to win."
The former Hamburger SV man isn't overselling his side's efforts either. On top of first-half goals from Stefan Kießling and Heung-Min Son, countless other chances sandwiched Salvio's strike for the visitors, which came against the run of play, before Calhanoglu stepped up from the penalty spot to rubber-stamp a decidedly one-sided display of attacking football at its near-finest.
'Always wanted to play at this level'
"Sure we could have scored more, but don't forget the fans really enjoyed what they saw," the 20-year-old Turkey international continued, having himself missed an open goal early in the second half. "It kicked up off the turf. It's never happened to me before, but I was strong enough to put it to the back of my mind. Kießling said I should take the penalty. I know what I'm capable of and I stuck it away."
Calhanoglu now has two goals to his name in all competitions since joining the Rhineland club from Hamburg, where he spent the majority of 2013/14 a world away from the glitz and glamour of the Champions League and embroiled in a taxing relegation dogfight. "I've always always wanted to play at this level," he expressed. "Obviously our goal is to qualify for the knockout stages, but we've got plenty of other games coming up first."
Back to the bread and butter of the Bundesliga, Bayer 04 are next in action at home to promoted club SC Paderborn 07 on Saturday afternoon. Roger Schmidt's men failed to find the target for the first time in the league this season in last weekend's goalless draw at SC Freiburg, but there's little evidence to suggest they'll make the same mistake twice on Matchday 7.
"We didn't let Benfica settle at all," explained Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. "They tried to play with the ball on the ground, but we closed them down very quickly and I think they were a little surprised that we started so quickly. Obviously we want to get three points against Paderborn at the weekend, but that could be a more difficult game in many ways as everyone is expecting us to beat them. They've already proven that they're dangerous opponents."