Patrick Helmes scored a hat-trick as Bayer 04 Leverkusen began Group B with an impressive 4-0 victory against Rosenborg BK.
The 26-year-old kicked off the night by registering the opening goal of the UEFA Europa League group stage in the fourth minute, and completed his hat-trick with quick-fire strikes either side of the hour. Stefan Reinartz netted the other, a lovely finish from outside the area, to leave the German club top of the nascent standings.
Helmes's opener owed itself to the vision of Sami Hyypiä and the verve of Sidney Sam. The Finn picked out the winger on the right flank with a long diagonal pass from inside his half which Sam read perfectly, giving him the space he needed to break clear of Mikael Dorsin and charge into the box before rolling the ball to Helmes who poked it into the net unopposed.
Goalkeeper René Adler had to be at his best to prevent Steffen Iversen from equalising on the quarter-hour, diving at full stretch to palm away a close-range shot from the veteran forward, while Nicolai Jørgensen failed to beat Daniel Örlund at the other end with efforts in quick succession with either foot.
The second goal crucially went the way of Leverkusen seven minutes before the interval. Sam was involved again, playing a one-two with Eren Derdiyok to work an opening for a shot which was well blocked. The ball fell for Reinartz just outside the area and the holding midfielder almost passed it into the top corner: a delightful finish.
Adler and Örlund did well with respective stops from Derdiyok and Rade Prica at the start of the second half, but the Rosenborg No1 was exposed by Helmes's second as the frontman shot inside the near post from an acute angle when the visitors were perhaps expecting a cross. His third, a header from Daniel Schwaab's long pass over Mattias Bjärsmyr three minutes later, capped a memorable night for the No9 and Jupp Heynckes's men.
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