A bold shift in tactics at halftime very nearly led to a incredible three-goal comeback for Peter Bosz's Werkself in Thursday Europa League action.
In the final minute of normal time, however, French striker Jordan Siebatcheau completed a brace to give hosts Young Boys Bern a 4-3 victory.
|Jonathan Tah.||Photo: Дмитрий Пукалик/Soccer.ru/CC-by-SA 3.0|
In a wild match in the Swiss capital, Young Boys Bern and Bayer 04 Leverkusen traded three unanswered goals at the Stadion Wankdorf. Coach Geraldo Seoane's league leaders rushed out to a 3-0 lead over the German visitors in the first half. Incredibly, Germany's red company team came back via three of their own tallies to tie the match 3-3 in the 68th minute. The hosts eked out a 4-3 victory with a goal in the 89th.
Peter Boss gave two of his January acquisition's their first start in the colours of Germany's red company team. Dutch right-back Jeremie Frimpong got the nod in back four that also featured Jonathan Tag, Aleksandar Dragovic and Daley Sinkgraven. Demarai Gray also made his starting XI debut on the left wing opposite Leon Bailey and beside Patrik Schick. Tah captained the team from the back of a 4-3-3 immediately behind midfielders Kerem Demirbay, Florian Wirtz, and Nadiem Amiri.
Matters got off to a disastrous start. Christian Fassnacht snuck in on a 3rd-minute corner and, taking advantage of acres of space, finished superbly with a beautiful volley from 11 meters out. Within a quarter of an hour, Bayer had conceded again from a corner. While Amiri seemed to have lost his marker on the first one, this team fellow German national team player Tah missed a defensive header. Jordan Siebatcheau converted from close range.
Die Werskelf straggled to find their fitting on the stadium's notorious artificial turf, looking completely out of sorts. A defensive error from Demirbay allowed Meschack Elia to slip in and a third goal at the stroke of halftime. Bosz replaced Amiri with Edmond Tapsoba at halftime, reverting to a back-three and sending Sinkgraven and Frimpong forward as advanced wingbacks. This led to a strong offensive impetus to start the second half.
Lead striker Schick found the back of the net twice inside a three-minute-span. The Czech international scored two with his head, assisted by Frimpong in the 49th and Tah in the 52nd. Wingers Bailey and Gray continued to generate chances until Moussa Diably relieved the former in the 65th. The French substitute would then draw his team level less than five minutes after being introduced with a fine solo following a through ball from Wirtz.
Leverkusen seemed to slow down somewhat after restoring parity. Slowly, the Alpiners began to get their way back into game after squandering the three-goal lead. Unfortunately for the German visitors, backup keeper Niklas Lomb couldn't keep hold of a shot that Siebatcheau finished off the rebound one minute from the end of normal time.
The second leg of the round-of-32 matchup is scheduled to take place next Thursday at the BayArena.