Germany's red company team suffered their first defeat of the 2020/21 cycle in Prague on Thursday. A 22nd minute straight red for Karim Bellarabi meant that Peter Bosz's men had to put in a monumental defensive effort. In the end, an 80th minute set-piece conversion proved their undoing.
|Peter Bosz.||Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
Missing Lars Bender (concussion) and Exequiel Palacios (illness), Leverkusen trainer Peter Bosz also rotated out five of his regular starters for a total of seven outfield changes prior to the squad's second Europa League group stage encounter.
An offensively-driven 4-1-2-3 did generate some early chances, with the best falling to right flanker Karim Bellarabi. Unfortunately, the scorer of two goals off the bench in last week's UEL encounter was sent off for a hard slide tackle some twenty minutes into the match.
Despite the fact the die Werkself spent most of the rest of the match pinned inside their own half, their Czech hosts found themselves lacking ideas in the final third. Kerem Demirby got the best chance of the first half with a well taken free-kick in the 40th.
Bosz took off center forward Lucas Alario at the half, replacing him with Leon Bailey in a clear bid to play for the counter. Neither team could make much of the revised tactics, however. After Jonathan Tah cleared an effort of the line in the 47th, Slavia remained quite until awarded a penalty in the 65th.
Like his Bundesliga counterpart Oliver Baumann, Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky stretched to produce the penalty save. The Finnish national team keeper also did well to pounce on the rebound before shot taker Nicolae Stanciu could grab another chance.
Just when it appeared the match was headed for a 0-0 conclusion, Stanciu atoned for his earlier mistake and hit substitute Peter Olayinka off a corner in the 80th. To their credit, the reduced Werkself threw everyone forward in search of an equalizer. Nadiem Amiri missed the best last chance in the 89th.