"If the game is decided this late, the joy is even greater," said Jens Hegeler after his free-kick winner for Bayer 04 Leverkusen against Real Sociedad de Fútbol, Carlos Vela left stunned.
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After an added time free-kick by Jens Hegeler gifted Bayer 04 Leverkusen a late 2-1 win against Real Sociedad de Fútbol, the hosts' captain Simon Rolfes spoke of the need to "force luck", referring to his opening goal as much as the impact substitute Hegeler.
Hegeler openly admitted that Stefan Kiessling had asked him to cross and not to shoot the eventual winner, but wisely decided to do otherwise. Unsurprisingly, both La Real's goalscorer Carlos Vela, and Haris Seferovic, felt they were hard done by with the result, the Swiss forward claiming: "Hegeler will never score like that again in his entire life."
Simon Rolfes, Leverkusen midfielder
Bringing on Jens Hegeler breathed fresh wind into our game. He came on and was present right away. That's not luck, that has something to do with having the right attitude. For the ball to go in like that, that's a little bit of luck surely. But sometimes you have to force luck. Having lost the first game it was important to get three points today. It was really hard work to get there. We did well at the beginning, had lots of pace and were aggressive. After the break we had 20, 25 minutes where we lost our way a bit, we played too fast, tried to force it and that did not serve us well.
Of course I was happy to have scored, that is the best thing there is in football. It is well known that the Spaniards are not at their strongest in the air and we already thought before the match that we might have chances there. Then the free-kick came into the box perfectly and I was lucky enough to put the ball into the net. We now have a home game against Shakhtar coming up and today will give us a boost. Things would have been very difficult had we not won today.
Jens Hegeler, Leverkusen defender
I believe it was important for us to win the match. If the game is decided this late, the joy is even greater and that is why we are so happy about the three points. Before the free-kick I had a little discussion with Stefan Kiessling. He told me to cross it because I had not converted the first one, so I was a little unsure what to do first, but the position was simply too tempting and then I decided to shoot and that turned out to be right.
Having lost in Manchester we knew we had to win today. That is what we intended right from the start, winning all three home matches and today we made the first step.
Carlos Vela, La Real forward
The team did well in the second half, but we conceded a goal in the last minute and that makes it difficult for us. We are a little bit disappointed because we think we deserved at least a point. At half-time we were already losing 1-0 so we told ourselves we have nothing more to lose. We need to go out there, attack, do our best and play football. We changed our mentality and tried to win this. We played well, created good opportunities but missed them in the end. With a very small mistake we lost the game and were very disappointed.
We knew Leverkusen would be strong with corners and free-kicks, they have very tall players and they played a very good game, especially in the first half. They defended well before the break. They take the three points and we have to congratulate them on that. We have to continue to fight and try to change the dynamics. It is now a difficult situation for us, we have zero points and go to Old Trafford next. That will be a very difficult game but we have to fight and try to give the best in every game for the team and the fans. They travel so far to be with us.
Haris Seferovic, La Real forward
I think Leverkusen was better in the first half, while we dominated the second half. Nevertheless, Bayer won the three points, but Hegeler is probably never going to score another goal like that one in the last minute in his entire life. We came here to win, not to draw or lose even.
We will now go to Manchester [United FC] and of course we also want to win there. A point will not be enough for us. We will give our best, despite having a young team and maybe we can make the impossible possible after all.