Then it was only Bayern and Bayer: Bayer Leverkusen kept a cool head in the witches’ cauldron of Budapest and was one of only two Bundesliga clubs to reach the quarter-finals of the European Cup competitions.

After the 2-0 win in Leverkusen, the Werkself also won the round of 16 second leg of the Europa League at Ferencváros Budapest in the atmospheric Puskás Aréna 2-0 (1-0) and reached the quarter-finals of an international competition for the eighth time. Under the eyes of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Moussa Diaby laid the foundation for victory with his goal in the 3rd minute, which was sealed by substitute Amine Adli (81st).

Bayern and Bayer alone in the open

In addition to FC Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Bayer is the only German club that is still in one of the competitions. A total of seven clubs were still in the round of 16. The Munich team are coming to the BayArena for the league duel on Sunday. This will be a special game, especially for Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso, who played for Bayern Munich from 2014 to 2017.

“That was a mature international performance. We deservedly progressed,” said Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky afterwards on RTL. The Bayer captain also had the upcoming game against the Bundesliga first in mind. “Now there’s a real test on Sunday. After that, maybe we can talk about whether it was a can opener,” said the keeper and demanded: “Take the momentum.”

Ferencváros had relocated to the almost 70,000-seat Puskás Aréna for the biggest game in Hungarian club football in almost 20 years. It wasn’t completely full, but the visitors provided a magnificent backdrop. Both the team and the Hungarian fans got really busy at the beginning of the game. An early goal was the motto to shake the arena and shake Bayer. The early goal came after 161 seconds – but on the other side. After a long ball from Edmond Tapsoba, Diaby pulled up and away and finished thoughtfully.

First passively, then wastefully

But the Hungarians quickly recovered. With the abolition of the away goals rule, the endeavor did not seem completely hopeless. A long-range shot by full-back Eldar Civic just missed the goal (8′), Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky made a splendid save against Amer Gojak (22′) and a deflected shot by Adama Traoré saved the crossbar (38′). Overall, Leverkusen played calmly and orderly, although not without mistakes. Overall, Bayer did not put enough needles in the first round, a shot from Jeremie Frimpong (32′), a header from Tapsoba (33′) after a corner and a shot from Diaby (45′ 1) at least caused some danger.

Curious: Immediately after the change, Leverkusen almost increased in the same way as they had taken the lead. This time it was the fourth minute of the second half when Tapsoba played a long ball to Diaby, who this time was repelled to Mitchel Bakker – but the Dutchman was stopped at the last moment. But now the guests were no longer as passive as in the first round and had the events under control much better. But in front of Frimpong’s goal, Bakker was offside (52′) and Diaby hit the post (57′). Only Adli provided the redeeming 2:0.