Turning pre-match form on its head, Bayer Leverkusen get their Champions League campaign up and running with a deserved victory at home to in-form Atletico Madrid.
But it took a long time to break through the visitors’ defensive wall finally.
Once Andrich drove home the opening goal on 84 minutes, the second followed soon after, with substitute Frimpong instrumental in creating both.
Atleti, then, is still seeking consecutive wins in the group stage for the first time since October 2019, but it is still early days in a finely-poised Group B.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN (4-2-3-1): Lukas Hradecky;
Odilon Kossounou, Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba, Piero Hincapie;
Robert Andrich, Kerem Demirbay; Moussa Diaby, Adam Hlozek, Callum Hudson-Odoi;
SUBS: Niklas Lomb, Maximilian Neutgens, Nadiem Amiri, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jeremie Frimpong, Paulinho, Mitchel Bakker, Charles Aranguiz, Sardar Azmoun.
ATLETICO MADRID (3-5-2): Ivo Grbic;
Felipe, Axel Witsel, Mario Hermoso;
Nahuel Molina, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Saul Niguez, Reinildo;
Joao Felix, Alvaro Morata.
SUBS: Antonio Gomis, Sergio Mestre, Angel Correa, Matheus Cunha, Antoine Griezmann, Marco Moreno, Alberto Moreno, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Sergio, Rodrigo de Paul, Yannick Carrasco.
LEVERKUSEN LEAD! Hudson-Odoi releases Frimpong down the right with a lofted ball, and the full-back’s precise pass picks out Andrich in the centre. He has little time to let fly before being closed down by Felipe, but the midfielder steers a superb finish into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box! On balance, the home side deserves to go in front, and they now lead 1-0 with only a few minutes left on the clock!
LEVERKUSEN WIN IT! That’s it, Die Werkself have sealed the deal! Diaby stays calm to stroke the ball into the net at the back post, following another excellent run and cross from Frimpong. His arrival from the bench has made all the difference: 2-0 to Leverkusen, and game over!
So, what’s next?
While Leverkusen will take some much-needed confidence from today’s result into their Bundesliga clash with Werder Bremen at the weekend.
Atletico must refocus in time to face their mighty arch-rivals, the reigning champions of Europe, Real Madrid.
These sides also meet again next month, in the Spanish capital.