Juventus FC coach Marcello Lippi said that his team's poor away form was the reason for their UEFA Champions League demise. Tuesday's 3-1 loss at Bayer 04 Leverkusen left the Bianconeri out of contention for the quarter-finals.
This was Juventus's third defeat on their travels in the second group stage and they lie bottom of Group D with four points from five matches. "Unfortunately for us there is a great difference between our home and away performances, and I don't understand why," Lippi said.
"I am very disappointed. We made too many mistakes in the first half. When we scored in the second it looked like we might get a draw, but Leverkusen showed why they are top of the Bundesliga."
'A very important result'
For opponents Bayer Leverkusen, however, this was a night to remember. Coach Klaus Toppmöller said: "It was a very important result against one of the best teams in Europe. We now have a good chance of reaching the last eight."
Goals from Hans-Jörg Butt, Thomas Brdaric and Marko Babic secured the win for the 1. Bundesliga leaders, who overcame the setback of an early injury to captain Jens Nowotny. "The first half we were very aggressive and scored the important first goal through Butt," Toppmöller continued. "It was a shock to lose Nowotny to injury but the team responded well. Our forwards in particular were excellent."
Leverkusen are level on seven points with second-placed Arsenal FC, three points behind RC Deportivo La Coruña. The situation could not be any closer going into the final Matchday, as goalkeeper Butt admitted: "We were really motivated tonight because we knew it was our last chance."
The last word, though, went to Brdaric. The 27-year-old rewarded his coach for picking him ahead of the veteran Ulf Kirsten with Leverkusen's second goal. "It was a great night at the BayArena," he said. "The whole team played well, we were very compact and all the goals came from good teamwork. Last night our assistant manager Peter Hermann dreamt that I would score, and I did."
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