Goals from David Luiz and Juan Mata steered Chelsea FC to their eighth UEFA Champions League matchday one victory in ten attempts and ensured new manager André Villas-Boas got off to a satisfying start in a competition that has become a real focus for the Stamford Bridge club.
Luiz, making his first appearance of the season in place of captain John Terry, struck in the 67th minute to reward an improved second-half display from the hosts. However, they were never completely comfortable against a skilful Bayer 04 Leverkusen side until Mata struck to settle the Group E fixture in added time.
The ball was in the net – at both ends – inside the first four minutes but neither effort counted with Simon Rolfes denied by the referee's whistle then Raul Meireles flicking in from an offside position. Before that Fernando Torres had sent an acrobatic volley over his shoulder but also wide of the mark: it was some start to the night and not surprisingly the rest of the half struggled to live up to that billing.
Torres, seeking his first goal of the season, was working hard to get on the end of things as Mata and Daniel Sturridge sparkled down the flanks. He might have scored in the tenth minute but allowed Bernd Leno to save with his left hand. Sturridge did better with a couple of stinging drives. Meanwhile the Bundesliga team were working hard, funnelling back to deny space and then counterattacking with stealth when the opportunity arose.
Just after the break, Torres twisted to get a header on target. It heralded a period of added urgency from the home side though they were nearly undone at the back as Michael Ballack, returning to the club where he had a trophy-laden four years, raced through only for Petr Čech to deny him with an outstretched leg.
A great save from Leno then kept out Sturridge but Chelsea were building a head of steam and it was about yield the first goal. Luiz began the move with a strong run from deep and when Ashley Cole played it in and Torres knocked it back, the Portuguese swept the ball stylishly beyond the goalkeeper. At the death Torres broke through and this time set up Mata for an easy second.