Granit Xhaka on Bayer Leverkusen’s late comeback against Roma: “We didn’t know ourselves how we were 2-0 down.”

On Thursday evening, Bayer Leverkusen drew 2-2 with AS Roma to ensure they would meet Atalanta in Dublin for the Europa League final. However, at one stage, progression to the showpiece event did not seem as straightforward for Die Werkself as it did at the start of the night.

Shortly after the hour mark, Leandro Parades tucked away Roma’s second spot kick of the night to draw the tie level while simultaneously leaving Leverkusen’s unbeaten run in question. Queue vintage Leverkusen.

In the 82nd minute, an own goal from Gianluca Mancini put the tie back in Die Werkself’s favour. Regardless, while the Bundesliga champions had one foot in the final, their remarkable unbeaten run in all competitions was on the verge of collapsing.

Then, with the final kick of the game, Josip Stanišić glided his way into the Roma box, leaving Paredes helpless on the floor, before calmly placing the ball beyond Mile Svilar’s reach. Once again, Xabi Alonso’s side had come from behind, scoring what now seems to be a trademark 90th-minute goal.

However, in reality, the outcome of the tie should never have been in question. Having dominated the game from the first whistle, Leverkusen missed chance after chance to put the tie to bed, and speaking after the game, Granit Xhaka commented on his side’s early scare:

“We didn’t know ourselves how we were 2-0 down.”

Nonetheless, for Leverkusen, the final awaits, and it will be another Serie A side in the form of Atalanta who they will be going toe-to-toe with. In their hunt to secure the treble, Die Werkself will do what they can to secure history, as stated by Xhaka himself: “We will do everything we can to bring the trophy to Leverkusen.” 

GGFN | Will Shopland

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