Real Madrid's defensive frailties
resurfaced in spectacular fashion on Wednesday night as they were
comprehensively beaten by Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena.
New Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho's priority when taking over in the
summer was to strengthen the back four and Argentinian international
Walter Samuel was handed his debut in Germany.
But it mattered little as the visitors were repeatedly opened up by a
Leverkusen side whose ambition and creativity seemed to surprise Madrid.
Jacek Krzynowek opened the scoring in the 39th minute and goals early in
the second half from Franca and Dimitar Berbatov settled the issue.
Leverkusen started in determined fashion and Bulgarian striker Berbatov
almost gave Klaus Augenthaler's men an early lead with an effort which
crashed back off the post with Madrid keeper Iker Casillas well beaten.
Brazilian striker Franca, Krzynowek and Carsten Ramelow were all allowed
time and space to get in shots in the opening stages although they
failed to trouble the over-exposed Casillas.
Madrid had to wait 14 minutes for an effort on goal and, even then, Luis
Figo's low drive flew wide of Hans-Jorg Butt's upright.
At least Figo's foray forward provided evidence that the visitors had
stepped up a gear.
And that was confirmed when Ronaldo crashed a shot against the bar in
the 26th minute after making a late burst into the box to connect with a
Michel Salgado cross from the right.
Leverkusen were still a threat, however, and Franca, who scored a
hat-trick in the home leg of the third qualifying round tie against
Banik Ostrava, should have done better than fire over the bar when well
Krzynowek also missed the target with a far post header as Leverkusen
re-asserted their superiority.
It came as no real surprise when the home side took the lead six minutes
before the break.
The Madrid defence only managed to clear a corner as far as the edge of
the box and the impressive Krzynowek hammered it back with interest,
giving Casillas no chance.
Berbatov almost made it two in two minutes with a towering header from a
Robson Ponte cross which was deflected just wide as Madrid lost their
composure at the back.
Krzynowek tested Casillas again as the interval approached with another
long-range drive which the Spain international did well to tip over the
Needing a goal and lacking inspiration, the last thing Madrid needed was
an injury to talisman Zinedine Zidane but the former French
international had to be replaced at half-time through injury.
Fernando Morientes, last season's top scorer in the Champions League,
came on but was a mere spectator as Madrid collapsed at the other end.
Leverkusen moved 2-0 ahead after 50 minutes - Franca firing home from
the edge of the area after David Beckham had allowed him space to get in
The goal seemed to deflate Madrid and the Bundesliga side took full
advantage five minutes later.
Franca whipped in a cross which Francisco Pavon could only head up into
the air, deceiving the unfortunate Casillas, leaving Berbatov to tap
into the empty net.
At 3-0 down, Camacho obviously decided enough was enough and decided to
withdraw two of his most creative players - Figo and Ronaldo - in an act
which seemed to demonstrate he had accepted defeat.
Leverkusen were happy to sit on their lead and with Madrid lacking
purpose and desire, the game petered out.
Beckham tested Butt in the closing stages but it was a night to forget
for the England captain and his team-mates.
Camacho takes responsibility
Real Madrid coach Jose Antonio Camacho said he was to blame after his
team started their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 defeat by Bayer
Leverkusen on Wednesday.
"I take responsibility for this because I was obviously not able to make
sure my players approached this game with the right attitude," said
He was hired by Real to help them bounce back from a disappointing
season featuring a quarter-final exit from the Champions League.
Real, who beat Leverkusen 2-1 in the 2002 final in Glasgow, were never
in contention on Wednesday and looked ordinary despite the presence on
the pitch of all their top players.
"We were outplayed for 60 minutes," said Camacho, whose men started the
Spanish league season with two unconvincing 1-0 wins.
"Only in the last 30 minutes did we manage to put them under pressure.
Leverkusen played with plenty of enthusiasm. They were clearly the
The defeat was not the only bad news for Camacho, who had to substitute
playmaker Zinedine Zidane at halftime because of a dislocated shoulder
that could leave the inspirational French midfielder sidelined for three
Leverkusen, who have never won a German title and had warmed up for the
game with a 2-0 defeat at promoted Mainz in the Bundesliga on Saturday,
delighted their fans with a stylish performance.
"I hope my players are now convinced that they can play good football,"
said coach Klaus Augenthaler.
Leverkusen captain Carsten Ramelow said facing such prestigious
opponents had helped Leverkusen raise their game.
"Just the name Real Madrid was a motivation," said Ramelow, who played
in the 2002 final. "Our victory is well deserved and so is the winning
margin," he added.
Germany midfielder Bernd Schneider, who has been given a new role as
right-back by Augenthaler, promised Leverkusen would not get carried
"We are not the new Galacticos," he said. "If we were we would have
Bayer Leverkusen 3 x 0 Real Madrid
Jose Vitor Roque Junior
Sena De Souza
Referee: G Poll
Yellow Cards: Hanno Balitsch (82) - Bayer Leverkusen; Walter Samuel
(65), Francisco Pavon (72), Gonzalez Raul (86) - Real Madrid
Goals: Jacek Krzynowek (40), Sena De Souza (50), Dimitar Berbatov (55) -