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Sep 16, 2015 at 7.45pm UK at BayArena
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
4-1
BATEBATE Borisov
Mehmedi (4'), Calhanoglu (47', 75' pen.), Hernandez (58')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Milunovic (13')

Live Commentary: Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 BATE Borisov - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of Bayer Leverkusen's emphatic victory over BATE Borisov to go top in Group E in the Champions League.
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Hakan Calhanoglu scored a brace to lead Bayer Leverkusen to a 4-1 win over BATE Borisov in their opening match in this season's Champions League group stage.

Admir Mehmedi opened the scoring just four minutes in, but the visitors soon equalised through Nemanja Milunovic to head into the break level.

Javier Hernandez scored his first goal for the home side after the break, while Calhanoglu netted twice to leave the German side top in Group E.

Read how all the action unfolded below.


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Good evening. Bayer Leverkusen and BATE Borisov begin their Champions League group stage campaigns this evening at the BayArena Stadium in Germany. The teams have just been revealed, so let's take a look at the lineups.

BAYER LEVERKUSEN STARTING XI: Leno, Tah, Papadopoulos, Hilbert, Wendell, Bender, Calhanoglu, Bellarabi, Kampl, Hernandez, Mehmedi

BATE BORISOV STARTING XI: Chernik, Dubra, Milunovic, Mladenovic, Polyakov, Aleksievich, Stasevich, Baga, Hleb, Signevich, Gordeichuk

BAYER LEVERKUSEN SUBSTITUTES: Kresic, Ramalho, Boenisch, Donati, Brandt, Kramer, Kiessling

BATE BORISOV SUBSTITUTES: Soroko, Karnitski, A Volodko, Nikolic, Rios, M Volodko, Jevtic

The hosts have made three changes to their starting lineup following their loss to Darmstadt at the weekend. Christoph Kramer, Julian Brandt and Stefan Kiessling all drop to the bench as Kevin Kampl, Admir Mehmedi and Javier Hernandez all come into the starting lineup.

For the visitors, there's just one change to the side that shared a 1-1 draw with Shakhtyor Soligorsk in the league at the weekend. Dimitri Baga gets the nod ahead of Aleksadr Volodko in midfield for the Belarusian side.

Bayer Leverkusen have a prestigious history in this competition. The Bundesliga side lifted the European Cup in 1988, and reached the final of the Champions League in 2002. Since then, they've never been past the quarter finals, with back-to-back last eight appearance in 2007 and 2008.

BATE Borisov are in their fifth group campaign, having made their debut at this stage of the competition in 2009. They've never progressed from the groups though, finishing bottom last year after suffering a string of heavy defeats.

Striker Javier Hernandez makes his Champions League debut for the hosts tonight, having joined from Manchester United late in the transfer window. It's also independence day in Hernandez's native Mexico, and it looks like at least one of his compatriots is marking the occasion at BayArena:


At his pre-match press conference, Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt identified Hernandez, or Chicharito as he also goes by, as one of the key players for this match: "Of course I'm hoping that Chicharito can get the goals we need. I didn't say that he's going to start. He's improving with every training session and I think he settled in nicely from day one. It does feel like we've not scored many, yet we've been creating chances. We've just not been taking enough of them."

Meanwhile, BATE coach Aleksandr Yermakovich told reporters: "The Bundesliga and the Champions League are two different competitions. Leverkusen lost this weekend, but the players will now be fired up even more to get a good result tomorrow. Had they won [on Saturday], things would now be completely different."

Leverkusen have been in mixed form at the start of this season. They overcame a tricky tie against Serie A side Lazio in their Champions League playoff to qualify for the groups, but have lost their last three matches in all competitions, including a friendly with Paderborn during the international break. With a tricky trip to Borussia Dortmund on Sunday, this could be an important fixture for the hosts to try to build some confidence.

Following defeat on the opening day in the Belarusian premier league, BATE Borisov have been unbeaten in their domestic competitions this season. Their only defeat came against Partizan in the second leg of their Champions League playoff, but having already won at home they did enough to progress.

Here are the visitors getting familiar with their surroundings in a training session yesterday. They might not have learnt that much from their training session though, as it was dry yesterday, but has been raining throughout this evening:


As BATE are still relative newcomers to European football, it probably won't surprise you that this is the first meeting between these two sides. The visitors have been the Germany before in this competition though, sharing a group with Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 campaign, which Bayern went on to win. They were thrashed 4-1 in Munich, but claimed a somewhat surprise 3-1 win at home.

Group E promises to be a difficult test for both of these sides. Leverkusen will be hoping to reach the knockout stage of the competition, while BATE will be keen to improve on last year's performance. The other two sides they will face though are reigning European champions Barcelona and Serie A runners-up Roma. They play in Italy this evening, and you can also follow coverage of that match here.

One player who will be more than familiar with Barcelona is BATE winger Aleksandr Hleb. The 34-year-old rejoined the Belarus champions for a third stint earlier this year, and previous spent four year at Camp Nou, although he did have a string of loans elsewhere during his time with the Catalan giants. Hleb has also previously player for Arsenal, Stuttgart and Birmingham City.
Aleksandr Hleb of FC BATE Borisov in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between FC Bayern Munich on October 2, 2012© Getty Images

REFEREE WATCH! Dutch referee Danny Makkelie takes charge of this fixture. The 32-year-old has officiating in the competition for four years, and comes into this fixture following a busy weekend on duty in Eredivisie, where he sent two player off in PEC Zwolle's win over Excelsior.

BayArena Stadium has a capacity of just under 30,000, which makes it not one of the biggest grounds in Germany, but it's nearly full this evening, and the fans are making themselves heard as kickoff approached, belting out a couple of club songs and waving their scarves.

PREDICTION! The players are starting to gather in the tunnel, so there's just time for a quick prediction before the action gets underway. Anything less than a comfortable home win will be seen as a disappointment for Leverkusen tonight. They've been respectful of their opponents though, naming a strong starting lineup, and they've got options on the bench should the Belarusians make it tight, so I can see the hosts getting a 3-0 win this evening.

The players head out onto the pitch and lineup ready for the start of this evening's match. The atmosphere is continuing to build in the BayArena ground, and thankfully the rain seems to have ceased for now.

KICKOFF! The visitors get the action underway.

Unsurprisingly, the home side are dominating the possession in the opening minutes of this match, but it's mainly being kept at the back. Jonathan Tah launches the ball forward to Hernandez, who in turn curls it in towards Karim Bellarabi, but the striker is just offside.

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 BATE Borisov (Admir Mehmedi)

Well, the hosts haven't taken long to get the opening goal on the board, but the visitors seem a little confused. Hernandez brings down a high ball forward before pulling it back to Admir Mehmedi on the edge of the box. It sounded like there was a whistle, resulting in some of the defenders looking towards the referee, giving the midfielder loads of space to drill the ball home. It wasn't the referee who blew though, so it must have been a noise from the crowd, and it's given the hosts an easy opening goal.

The visitors get the ball down the other end for the first time in this match as they try to recover from letting in an early goal. Mladenovich slices the ball forward to Mikhail Gordejchuk, but Papadopoulos does enough to make sure it goes behind for a goal kick.

CHANCE! Leverkusen are back on the attack as they press for a second, with Kampl and Calhanoglu both getting touches, but Milunovic is able to make the clearance for BATE on this occasion. Kampl comes again on the opposite flank, slicing the ball in superbly for Hernandez, but the Mexican can't quite get the touch to direct it past the keeper. The slightest of contacts would surely have made it 2-0.

CHANCE! Hernandez is tripped on the right-hand side of the box, giving the hosts a free kick in a dangerous position. Calhanoglu swings it in, but Chernik decisively comes off his line to punch it clear.

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 BATE Borisov (Nemanja Milunovic)

With their first shot of the night, BATE are back on level terms, and it's a clinical header from defender Nemanja Milunovic that's beaten Bernd Leno in the Leverkusen goal. Hleb manages to force a corner, which is whipped in by Nikolai Signevich, leaving the big full-back to rise up highest in the penalty area and power the ball past the keeper. It's completely against the run of play, but the visitors are delighted regardless.

PENALTY APPEAL! The home side think that they should have a spot kick as Karim Bellarabi takes a tumble under pressure from Kaspars Dubra in the box, but there was very little contact it in. It was right in front of the additional assistant behind the goal, and he shakes his head, so the referee waves play on.

BATE have certainly seen more of the ball since getting back on level terms, and are pressing back towards the Leverkusen goal. Dubra curls the ball in from out wide looking for Signevich, but the striker is in an offside position.

Bellarabi and Hernandez are looking a potent partnership up front for the hosts so far, with the latter flicking the ball on for his strike partner, but they can't get the shot away. Mehmedi tries to keep the move alive out wide, but it comes to nothing.

After a reasonable spell from the visitors, Leverkusen are starting to dominate again, with Bellarbi squaring the ball to Wendell, who tries to play it into the box for Hernandez, but Mladenovic manages to block the delivery, allowing BATE to break down the other end.

UPDATE: In the other match in this group, Barcelona have opened the scoring, taking a 1-0 lead over Roma.

BATE are on the attack again, sensing a chance to take the lead. Polyakov shows some impressive footwork for a centre-back, forcing Hilbert to turn the ball behind for a corner, but Papadopoulos is able to clear.

CHANCE! What a miss from Admir Mehmedi! Straight from the cleared corner, the hosts surge towards the BATE goal, with Bellarabi picking out Mehmedi with a perfect through-ball. The scorer of the opening goal has only the keeper to keep, but somehow puts it wide from just a couple of yards out while looking for the bottom right corner. It's an agonising miss for the midfielder.

CHANCE! Leverkusen are so close to a second yet again as Calhanoglu tries something straight from a corner, which Hleb is able to clear, but it's straight at the feet of Jonathan Tah, who can only slice it over the bar.

SUB! It's a big blow for the visitors as Aleksandr Hleb appears to have pulled his hamstring, forcing him to limp off with Aleksandr Volodko taking his place.

This was the moment the visiting side got back on level terms at BayArena:


The home side quickly win the ball back in midfielder, allowing Calhanoglu to weave his way through a couple of defenders before attempting to curl the ball in from the edge of the box. His effort is blocked though. Meanwhile, Lars Bender, the Leverkusen captain, now appears to have picked up a knock.

UPDATE: While there's a break in play to allow Bender to receive some treatment following a heavy collision with Baha, there's been another goal in the other Group E match, with Alessandro Florenzi equalising for Roma in their match against Barcelona.

It looks like this is going to the end of the night for Bender as he looks to be in excruciating pain while hobbling under assistance from the physio to the sideline. He's continuing to receive treatment off the pitch, but there is a substitute warming up.

Somewhat surprisingly, Bender is able to get back on. He's still wincing as he jobs back out into the middle, but with less than 10 minutes to half time, he clearly thinks he can make it to the break at least. Leverkusen are continuing to dominate possession, but BATE have got all 11 players back to try to limit their opportunities, and they force Bender to put the ball behind for a goal kick. The captain still looks to be in quite a bit of pain though.

Tah and Wendell try to work the ball down the left as Leverkusen continue to look to restore their lead. They force a throw in on the opposite flank, which Hilbert works to Kampl, who drive the ball low towards the bottom left corner, but the keeper makes a relatively comfortable save.

BOOKING! Kyriakos Papadopoulos looks rather surprised as he receives the opening yellow card of the evening. He clipped Signevich from behind though, so can't really have any complaints.

Leverkusen press back towards the BATE goal, with a long ball forward from Wendell almost dropping for Hernandez, but the keeper just beats the Mexican international to it. Wendell appears to have picked up an injury though, as he goes down clutching his head.

SUB! The home side have to make their first change, with Bender having not shaken off his earlier knock. Christoph Kramer takes his place. Meanwhile, it looks like Wendell will be ok to make it to half time, but the break can't come soon enough for the ailing home side.

BOOKING! The referee reaches for his pocket again, this time cautioning Dzmitry Baha for grabbing Mehmedi from behind as the Leverkusen goal scorer tried to break from midfield.

Leverkusen are continuing to control possession as the half-time whistle approaches, but there's no urgency in their attack. It looks like they're keen for their break, having struggled to make the most of their chances so far in this opening period.

CHANCE! Leverkusen do force a corner with just moments to spare, which Hernandez controls near the penalty spot before striking it on the half volley, but his finish isn't a clean one, leaving Chernik with a fairly easy stop.

HALF TIME: Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 BATE Borisov

Well, it's a somewhat surprise half-time score in Germany as BATE Borisov are holding Bayer Leverkusen to a 1-1 draw. You'd be forgiven for having feared for the visitors in the early stages as confusion at the back gifted Leverkusen the opening goal, but they made the most of their first shot of the game to get back on level terms shortly after, and have done well to limit the hosts chances since.

In fact, it wasn't just the first shot of the night for BATE that gave the visitors their equaliser, it was their only shot so far. The visitors saw just 39% of the possession, with just one effort at the Leverkusen goal, compare to eight attempts for the Budesliga side. Both sides have suffered an injury blow in the opening 45 minutes too, with experienced midfielder Aleksandr Hleb going off with an apparent hamstring issue for the Belarusian champions, before Leverkusen captain Lars Bender limped off.

Despite the home side having failed to sustain their early charge, they have still threatened the BATE goal, it's just that the visitors have gone from strength to strength at the back. Javier Hernandez and Karim Bellarabi have shown plenty of pace, and worked well together, while Mehmedi and Calhanolgu posed a threat from midfield, resulting in the goal for the former just four minutes in. They will still be the favourites for the win this evening when the second half gets underway.
Leverkusen's Swiss forward Admir Mehmedi and his teammates celebrate scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League group E first leg football match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bate Borisov in Leverkusen, western Germany on September 16,© Getty Images

UPDATE: The other match in Group E has also reached half time, and it's 1-1 in Rome too, with Roma coming from behind to head into the break level with Barcelona. If both matches finish this way, there will be nothing to separate the four clubs after the first round of fixtures.

The players are making their way back out ready for the start of the second half.

RESTART! The hosts get the action back underway.

Leverkusen are pressing towards the BATE box almost straight from kickoff, having presumably been on the receiving end of a rather stern half-time talk from the coach. Wendell gives away a free kick when he catches Stasevich though.

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 BATE Borisov (Hakan Calhanoglu)

It's a cruel deflection that restores Bayer Leverkusen's advantage as Hakan Calhanoglu cuts inside after sprinting down the left. He tries to drive his shot in low, which Denis Polyakov tries to deflect behind, but instead he leaves his keeper stranded. For now, Calhanoglu is claiming it, but the touch from the BATE defender certainly had an impact.

CHANCE! Leverkusen have already let a one-goal lead slip once, so are already pressing for another to see off their determined opponents. Ballarabi beats the offside trap on the right flank before delivering a dangerous-looking cross to Hernandez, but a diving stop from Chernik denied the Mexican. It's a really determined effort from the BATE stopper.

The home side are on the attack again as they continue to seek another goal, with Kampl and Mehmedi both looking for a way through the middle. The latter tries to find some space on the left, but ends up getting forced to put the ball behind.

Leverkusen have definitely shown a lot more intent after taking the lead in the second half than they did in the first. They did still create chances in the first period without finding a second goal though, so BATE know that there's still a chance for them in this match.

The hosts win a free kick just inside BATE's half as Polyakov launches himself at Calhanoglu while trying to control a high ball. The Turkish international gets it on the edge of the box following a long ball forward, but Polyakov does enough to halt his run, and clears the danger for the Belarus champions.

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 BATE Borisov (Javier Hernandez)

Javier Hernandez has his first goal for his new club, timing his run into the box to perfection to collect of excellent pass forward from Kevin Kampl, hitting the ball first time to slice it past Chernik from out wide.

SUB! The visitors make their second change of the night, repalcing Dzmitry Baha with Aleksandr Karnitskiy. Baha had picked up a booking in the first half, which could be part of the away side's thinking.

CHANCE! Javier Hernandez almost has a second as he tries to tap the ball in at the near post following another stunning pass from Calhanoglu. The Mexican is insistent that he was fouled, but the referee only gives the corner. Bellarabi tries to head in from the resulting set piece, but the visitors clear.

Leverkusen are now taking charge of this game like they should have done in the first half, with Kramer, and Mehmedi dictating the tempo in midfield, while BATE's organised defending from the (majority) of the first half appears to have deserted them. With almost half an hour still to go, it's likely that it will get worse for the visiting side.

The Bundesliga side force a free kick in a promising position, with Calhanoglu and Wendell standing over it. It's the latter that takes it, but the midfielder's effort is straight into the wall. The home supporters don't seem too bothered though, they're in fine voice now that their side are well on top.

BATE are just trying to build a little bit of possession, keeping the ball at the back just to try to get some time on the ball, but the home side win it back when Kampl pounces on pass forward from Dubra. Meanwhile, it looks like the German side are getting ready to make another change, with Kiessling seemingly ready to come on.

SUB! Kiessling is indeed coming on, and it's the scorer of the third goal who makes way, with Javier Hernandez receiving a standing ovation after netting his first goal for the club.

Volodko pulls Bellarabi back by his shorts to give away a free kick on the edge of the box. Despite the challenge though, the referee doesn't book the player. Calhanoglu lines it up.

PENALTY TO BAYER LEVERKUSEN!

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 BATE Borisov (Hakan Calhanoglu PEN.)

It's a careless error from Filip Mladenovic as he puts his hands up during the free kick, and Calhanoglu's delivery strikes him right on the forearm, forcing the referee to point at the spot. Calhanoglu steps up to take the spot kick, and clinically fires into the bottom left corner. You have to feel sorry for Sergey Chernik, he's made some decent saves for BATE, but has had to deal with a penalty and a horrible deflection.

SUB! The penalty will be Calhanoglu's last contribution as he heads off, with Julian Brandt taking his place for the final quarter of an hour.

Kiessling curls the ball in from out wide, looking for Brandt, but the substitute mis-times his run into the box. Kampl tries to keep the move alive, but the home side know that they don't need to hurry, so elect to pass is around in midfield instead.

Bellarabi earns himself a talking to from the referee as he clatters into Volodko around 25 yards from the Leverkusen goal. Signevich curls it into the box for the visiting side, forcing Tah to turn it behind for a corner. Mladenovic hits it from the edge of the box, but it's a fairly comfortable hold for Leno, who really hasn't seen much of the ball since the restart.

The home side immediately press back down the other end looking for a fifth. Bradt and Kiessling team up, before the latter square it to Kampl, but he hurries his finish, blasting it well high of the crossbar.

CHANCE! Kiessling carves out a chance for himself, winning the ball back off Mladenovic before rounding Milunovic, only to slice his finish just wide of the far post. He did have Bellarabi waiting in the middle, but took the shot on himself, and wasn't all that far off.

BOOKING! A frustrated Nikolai Signevich seems to have said something to the referee that the Dutch official hasn't been pleased with, as he shows him a yellow card.

A rare moment of sloppiness at the back from the hosts almost lets BATE in for a chance to snatch a late consolation goal, but Hilbert does just enough to clear Voldoko's cross from danger.

The home side seem happy enough with the scoreline, as they complete a series of quick passes around the middle, hardly looking towards the BATE goal. There are just two minutes of stoppage time to come.

There's a late injury concern for the visitors as Denis Polyakov is slumped to the ground, although it could just be tiredness as the defender has worked hard at both ends of the pitch this evening.

FULL TIME: Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 BATE Borisov

It's a comfortable scoreline in the end for Bayer Leverkusen, having been made to work hard in the first half by BATE Borisov, before dominating after the break. Javier Hernandez's debut goal and a brace from Hakan Calhanoglu secured the win for the hosts, who go straight to the top of Group E.

The Bundesliga side top the group because Barcelona have been held to a 1-1 draw by Roma. Tonight's winners face the defending European champions at Camp Nou in their next Champions League outing in two weeks.

So, that's all from this match, but if you want to catch up with any of the action from elsewhere in the Champions League this evening, you'll be able to find all the results on our Champions League page. Thanks for joining me this evening. Goodbye.

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