Europe: Champions League
1 - 0
(1 - 0)
Club Brugge
L. Sylla (42)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Leverkusen have lost six of last seven games following defeat in Belgium

Bayer 04 Leverkusen's return to Europe's top footballing flight since the 2019/20 Champions' League group stages ended in defeat on Wednesday evening in Belgium. 

An error from keeper and captain Lukas Hradecky proved the difference as Club Brugge eked out a 1-0 victory. 
The early season struggles for Germany's Red Company team continue after Gerardo Seoane's Leverkusen dropped their opening 2022/23 Champions' League Group stage match against Club Brugge Wednesday evening at the Jan Breydel Stadium. After securing their first competitive win of the season two weeks ago against Mainz, Seoane's Werkself have again lost two on the spin. Bayer have lost six of their seven competitive fixtures this year.

B04 trainer Seoane brought the newly-acquired winger Callum Hudson-Odoi in the XI for his debut with his new German club. The Chelsea attacker worked behind Patrik Schick and Moussa Diaby in a 3-4-3. Mitchell Bakker and Jeremie Frimpong worked as the wingbacks beside midfielders Robert Andrich and Charles Aranguiz. Jonathan Tah, Piero Hincapie, and Olin Kossounou formed the back-three.

Brugge's Danish winger Andreas Skov Olsen immediately began causing Bakker and Hincapie problems down the right-hand-side. The first chance of the match nevertheless went to Diaby, who forced keeper Simon Mignolet into a save inside of ten minutes. Apart from this, the Belgian team were truly the more dominant team during the opening phases. Die Werkself sat back and waited for counters.

Diaby did rattled off an excellent distance effort in the 27th that Mignolet had to defect off the post. Hudson-Odoi missed out on a chance to bury the rebound by taking too many touches. The story of the opening 45 continued to be Skov Olsen, who mercilessly pestered the visiting Germans from what appeared to be rather unorthodox attacking position in Carl Hoefeken's formation.

The Dane would record an assist in the 42nd off a corner that gave Brugge the 1-0 lead. Abakar Sylla headed in at the far post. B04 keeper Hradecky actually held the effort, but had already backpedalled over the line. Seoane reacted to the 0-1 halftime deficit by introducing Exequiel Palacios for Anranguiz at the break. This did indeed foster some more vigor as the guests no longer sat back.

Hudson-Odoi and Bakker were too inaccurate with finishes in the opening ten minutes after the restart. Before too long, the Belgians were wresting control of the match back. The later subbed on Adam Hlozek and Kerem Demirbay were able to combine with Hudson-Odoi in the 71st. Two minutes later, Tah had a goal disallowed when a VAR review held he had touched in a Hudson-Odoi cross with his hand.

Hlozek forced one final save out of keeper Mignolet with a well taken free-kick at the death. Mignolet preserved the scoreline at 90+2 with a fine save on the Czech international.

Elsewhere on Wednesday evening in the other UCL match involving a German club, FC Bayern München took their opening group stage match with a 2-0 win over Inter at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. The German record champions looked quite impressive throughout.

The first round of the historic Champions' League Group Stage featuring five German teams for the first time in history thus concluded with mixed results. Dortmund were able to surprise many with a convincing win over FC Copenhagen. Eintracht Frankfurt's opening match ended in a defeat that did have a somewhat misleading scoreline.

RB Leipzig's humiliating defeat to Shakthar Donetsk ended up costing RB trainer Domenico Tedesco his job. There are currently no major whispers that newly elevated Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes is thinking about parting company with Seoane, but some silenced discussions may start cropping up again soon.

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