Chelsea’s dismal run of form continued with a shock defeat in Germany, leaving Champions League qualification delicately in the balance and AVB edging ever closer to the axe. In what should have been a routine win, Chelsea’s back-line was cut open as happens so often this season, and only a win (or 0-0 or 1-1 draw) against Valencia will see them qualify. A loss, or a high score draw will see the opponents, Valencia, qualify, with Leverkusen guaranteed qualification after this win.
AVB decided to once again shuffle his pack. Bosingwa came on at left-back for the injured Ashley Cole, whilst Meireles anchored in place of Mikel. Daniel Sturridge came back into the starting line-up after being benched against Liverpool to start, whilst under-fire defender David Luiz keeps his place in the starting line-up.
The first half started slowly, both teams failing to get out of first gear, and whilst Chelsea were having more possession and looking more meaningful, Leverkusen were very happy to frustrate and play slowly. Little action occurred in a cagey opening, Drogba had a free-kick, Lampard had a free-kick, whilst at the other end, Kiessling was causing problems for the make-shift left-back Jose Bosingwa. The greatest chance of the half came to Drogba. Found beautifully by Sturridge, he rounded the keeper, but the touch was too heavy and all he could do was loop it over goal. Minutes later Chelsea had another chance. Sturridge again involved, this time laying off to Mata, who could only shoot at the keeper Leno.
The second half was a more more tense affair. Three minutes again, Chelsea broke the deadlock. Sturridge set up Drogba, and though it appeared he had the ball caught around his feet, he managed to loosen himself and pirouetted. Still with so much to do, Drogba curved a shot into the bottom left hand corner, with his bottom practically touching the ground.
Former Chelsea man Ballack then came close for his new side Leverkusen. First an improvised bicycle kick forced a good save from Cech, but then a thump from 4 yards forced an even bigger save from Cech, who was equal to it from point-blank range.
AVB ringed more changes, Mata and Luiz came off, Malouda and Alex came on. The defensive reshuffle was at fault for Bayer’s equaliser. With tons of space on the left-side, Sam drove into the penalty box. Cech had a rush of blood and charged out, knowing there was no way he could stop him. Sam lifted the ball over Cech, and the onrushing Derdiyok headed it in, much to the delight of the home supporters.
Minutes later, Chelsea should have had a penalty. Drogba found the ball in the box and was clearly brought down by two Leverkusen defenders – no penalty. The match continued to go Chelsea’s way, but no end product was there. Then at the death, Freidrich killed it. With a minute to go, Freidrich leapt above Alex, and the flailing hand of Cech was not enough to keep it out.
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