Bayer Leverkusen played out a 1-1 draw with Barcelona in an enthralling showdown. An exceptional finish from Lionel Messi and a powerful strike from Javier Hernandez were the only goals.
Leverkusen were, without a doubt, the better outfit. It was once again missed chances that prevented Leverkusen from getting the result. At least 26 attempts were mustered by Roger Schmidt’s men, 20 more than the Nou Camp outfit.
The German side have now been eliminated from the Champions League – AS Roma follow Barcelona to the knockout phases after their 0-0 stalemate with BATE Borisov.
Despite the fact Leverkusen concluded the group stage level on points with AS Roma along with a much superior goal difference, Roma advance to the round of 16 due to the head to head rule.
The 2015-16 European tenure is far from over for the BayArena outfit as their third place group finish will see them implemented into the final 32 of the Europa League.
It may have been a weakened Barcelona team but it was nothing short of an incredible performance from Leverkusen, every player performed well; it was a comprehensive display excluding the wasted efforts.
The contest was immense, in particular the second half which saw the hosts completely dominate. As the match progressed, it seemed a Leverkusen winner was bound to emerge, but that wasn’t the case.
Bayer Leverkusen had a whopping 26 shots vs. Barcelona tonight, scoring just one goal.
Unlucky to go out. pic.twitter.com/HT6930781H
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 9, 2015
Bernd Leno – 6: Didn’t have much to do at all, was beaten by Messi and intercepted a dangerous cross in the latter stages of the outing.
Roberto Hilbert – 7: Contributed to some attacks and provided plenty of clearances. Solid display.
Jonathan Tah – 7: Brilliant performance from the 19-year-old who continues to impress. Most interceptions in the match.
Omer Toprak – 6.5: Arguably his best performance of the campaign, was strong in defence as he shunned a couple of opposing attacks.
Wendell – 7: The Brazilian was always keen to get forward, his distribution was great and he didn’t stop working.
Christoph Kramer – 7: Best passing accuracy of the match, held the midfield well.
Kevin Kampl – 7: Distribution was fantastic as usual, was creative and fired a potent strike on target, but it was saved.
Karim Bellarabi – 7: Completed plenty of dribbles and had a couple of fantastic attempts on goal.
Hakan Calhanoglu – 8: Outstanding bar the missed opportunities, most potent source of the hosts’ creativity. The Turk engineered some quality passes and had a glorious chance to give his side the lead early in the second half. Engineered the assist for the Hernandez equaliser.
Admir Mehmedi – 6.5: Played 70 minutes, was a big part of the goal as he manoeuvred himself into a great position to feed the ball into the box.
Javier Hernandez – 8: The Mexican levelled proceedings almost immediately after Messi broke the ice. He provided great movement as usual. Incredible chance in the 89th minute was saved, agonisingly close. Ball didn’t fall to him much but he got a goal and was unlucky not to get the match-winner.
Stefan Kiessling – 5.5: His presence helped late on as he was able to hold the ball up a bit and keep it in the Barcelona box.
Julian Brandt – 5.5: Was vibrant after being introduced, added a spark, completed some dribbles and his distribution was good.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos – N/A: Entered the pitch in the 90th minute.
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