Fascinating Start in Group E

Wednesday night saw Bayer 04 Leverkusen kick off their UEFA Champions League campaign with a home match against BATE Borisov, whilst in Rome AS Roma hosted FC Barcelona

It was a great night for Roger Schmidt's men. A 4-1 win sees die Werkself top the group after the other match finished all square. Admir Mehmedi opened the scoring just four minutes in following a great move, hitting a first time shot with the outside of his right boot into the top corner. The lead didn't last long, however, as the unfortunate Roberto Hilbert deflected Nemanja Milunović's header past Bernd Leno.

Mehmedi could – and probably should – have put the hosts back in front, but he slotted his shot inches wide from Karim Bellarbi's accurate through ball. New signings Kevin Kampl and Javier Hernandez looked lively all night, and Kampl had a powerful effort saved by BATE keeper Chernik, who was also on hand to deny Hernandez before the break.

The second half saw Leverkusen make the perfect start, and again it was Bellarabi with the assist, this time feeding the ball to Hakan Calhanoglu. The Turkish midfielders low shot took a cruel deflection which looped the ball over Chernik and into the goal.

Leverkusen never really looked in any danger from there, and were able to add a further two goals. Hernandez claimed a brilliant first goal for the club, latching onto a fine pass from Kampl and sliding the ball past Chernik. It was a composed and expert finish from the Mexican, a sure sign that he is confident and in form despite not playing regularly for the last two seasons. Hakan then got his second of the game, slotting home a penalty after his free kick had hit an arm in the wall.

In Rome, it was a game of two goals; one from fifty centimetres and one from fifty yards. Luis Suarez headed home Ivan Rakitic's cross from basically under the crossbar, and full back Alessandro Florenzi caught out Marc-Andre ter Stegen with an outrageous lob from out on the right wing.

The results leave Leverkusen too of the group, but Roma's point – possibly an unexpected one at that – against Barcelona could prove vital. It now means that Leverkusen need to take more points than the Italians from their two games against each other. Either that, or they will need to match Roma's result against the Spanish and European champions or hope that BATE take points off Roma.

There's a fortnight until Matchday 2, when Leverkusen make the trip to Barcelona looking for an almost impossible win, while Roma have the potential banana skin of a journey to Borisov. Before that, though, Schmidt has three Bundesliga matches to negotiate, starting with this Saturday's tough looking trip to Thomas Tuchel's resurgent Borussia Dortmund.

The match kicks off at 5:30pm, and will be live on BT Sport.


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