Leverkusen’s night of success: Record – and EL final ticket

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97th minute.
Then Bayer Leverkusen equalized – and broke a new European record.
In addition, they secured a place in the Europa League final.
– Pure and pure goosebumps, says Granit Xhaka to RTL.

Between 1963-1965, Benfica went undefeated in 48 consecutive matches.

It is the longest unbeaten streak ever in European football, a record the Portuguese currently share with Bayer Leverkusen. When the newly crowned Bundesliga champions took on Roma in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday evening, they had a chance to make history at worst with a draw.

It didn’t look like that for a long time. But then they did it again.

But we’ll take this from the beginning.

Leverkusen had a 2-0 lead to go on from the first meeting in Italy. Xabi Alonso and his men were the better team in the first half but it was Roma who took the lead just before the half-time break through Leandro Paredes, who was safety himself from the penalty spot.

At that point, both the suite and the final ticket were threatened for the Germans. And it got worse at the start of the second half when the visitors from Rome were awarded their second penalty of the night – and Paredes scored his second goal from the penalty spot.

However, Leverkusen came back and decided the double meeting in the final minutes. Roma defender Gianluca Mancini was then unfortunate when he received a corner and steered the ball into his own goal. Which was decisive for the semi-finals.

But then there was this thing about the suite. The last goal had not fallen.

Because in the 97th minute, Bayer Leverkusen equalized – and broke the record. Josip Stanišić then drove the ball into the offensive penalty area and scored 2-2, which was the final score.

Bayer Leverkusen is thus ready for the Europa League final after beating Roma 4-2 on aggregate over two matches. In addition, you are a new European record holder.

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Xabi Alonso and his men have now gone 49 consecutive matches unbeaten, which is the longest streak ever in European football. Fairly impressed results. In addition, they have now scored twelve goals in extra time during the season, all of which have seen to keep the streak alive.

– To come back against a team like Roma with so much experience and, above all, not to lose is fantastic. Again, the determination to score another goal and go for it is incredible. Now we are in the final. A dream has come true, says Granit Xhaka to RTL.

– It’s pure goosebumps. One dreams of an atmosphere like this. You dream of matches like this. As a kid, you want to play this kind of game and when you equalize just before the final whistle and make it to the final … it’s amazing. We will definitely enjoy this evening.

The “hero” Stanišić, who scored the late equalizing goal:

– The fact that we came back and equalized at 2-2 at the end shows what kind of team we are. I don’t think we would have cared if we lost but still went on because we really just wanted to go to the final. But it’s even nicer this way, he tells RTL.

In the final, Atalanta awaits at the Dublin Arena on May 22.

– We are definitely going to the final to win it. But of course it won’t be easy. Atalanta is another Italian team that is brutally tactically adept. But we will give everything to take the title to Leverkusen, says Xhaka.

Starting XI:

Bayer Leverkusen: Kovar – Tapsoba, Tah, Hinvapie – Frimpong, Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo – Adli, Hlozek, Hofman.

Roma: Svilar – Mancini, N’Dicka, Spinazzola, Angelino – Pellegrini, Paredes, Cristante – Azmoun, Lukaku, El Shaarawy.

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