The joy of Bundesliga fans in seeing all seven German clubs advance into the European knockout stages was tempered by a more unpleasant reality on Thursday, as VFB Stuttgart was the only one of four to advance in the Europa League. All four clubs started the day on their backheels after poor results in their first leg Europa League fixtures a week ago, with the Swabians being the only club able to upgrade their fate.
VFB Stuttgart followed up an abject 1-1 draw at home against Genk last week with a 2-0 win away thanks to goals from Boka and Gentner. Stuttgart’s reward is a trip to Rome to face Lazio, no stranger to teams from the Bundesliga after despatching Borussia Mönchengladbach in the last round. Nobody would have thought Stuttgart, the German Europa League club currently displaying the worst form, would be the sole survivors of the first EL knockout round, but here they are.
Genk: Köteles – Ngcongca, Simaeys, Koulibaly, Tshimanga – Hyland, Kumordzi (Barda 61′) – Gorius, De Ceulaer (Joseph-Monrose 70′), Buffel (Ojo 77′) – Plet
Stuttgart: Ulreich – Sakai, Tasci, Rüdiger, Boka – Kvist, Gentner – Harnik, Okazaki (Holzhauser 77′), Traore (Maxim 75′) – Ibisevic (Macheda 83′)
Bayer Leverkusen huffed and puffed but ultimately could not blow down the Benfica door as they lost 2-1 away and 3-1 on aggregate. Ola John put Benfica 1-0 up on the night before Andre Schürrle set up a grandstand finish with 15 minutes left, meaning only one more goal was needed from Bayer. However almost immediately Nemanja Matic put the tie beyond the Germans, meaning they went out 3-1. Bayer had all the chances but could not make them count as Benfica soaked up the pressure before hitting them on the counter.
Benfica: Artur – Almeida, Luisao, Garay, Melgarejo – Martins, (Salvio 53′), Matic, Gaitan – Perez, Cardoso (Lima 64′), John Leverkusen: Leno- Carvajal, Wollscheid, Toprak, Boenisch – Reinartz (Milik 74′) – Bender (Hegeler 57′), Rolfes – Castro, Schürrle – Kießling
Borussia Mönchengladbach crashed out 5-3 on aggregate away to Lazio, after the Italian team won 2-0 at Stade Olimpico. Goals from Candreva and Gonzalez in the first half put the game to bed. Lazio were never really troubled as they dominated chances created and the Bundesliga outfits’ heroics from last week were all for nothing in the end. It’s been an exciting season for Gladbach in Europe, and their fans can be proud of the team especially after losing Dante, Reus and Neustädter in the offseason.
Lazio: Marchetti – Konko, Biava, Cana, Radu – Candreva (Pereirinha 83′), Ledesma, Hernanes- A. Gonzalez (Onazi 69′), Lulic – Floccari (Kozak 79′)
Gladbach: ter Stegen – Jantschke, Stranzl, Dominguez, Wendt – Marx, Cigerci (Hanke 69′), Nordveit, Hermann – Arango (Younes 52′), de Jong
Hannover drew 1-1 with Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala meaning they go out 4-2 on aggregate. Pinto made the game interesting scoring with just 20 minutes left, but Hannover couldn’t get another to take the tie into extra time, and Lacina Traore scoring in the 9th minute of injury time to finally kill off the game. A tricky tie for Hannover who created a lot of chances but couldn’t capitalize on them, it will be interesting to see how Hannover bounce back from elimination from Europe.
Hannover: Zieler – H. Sakai (Sobiech 83′), Djourou, Schulz, Pocognoli (Rausch 70′) – Schmiedebach (Schlaudraff 61′), da Silva Pinto, Ya Konan, Huszti – Abdellaoue, M. Diouf
Anji: V. Gabulov – Logashov, Joao Carlos, Ewerton, Yeshchenko – Jucilei, Diarra – Boussoufa, Akhmedov, Willian (Traore 68′) – Eto’o
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