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Leverkusen edge København in first-leg thriller

FC København 2-3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Roger Schmidt's men came from 2-1 down inside 13 minutes, Son Heung-Min scoring the winning goal at the end of a frantic first half.

Son Heung-Min (second right) is congratulated after his winner for Leverkusen
Son Heung-Min (second right) is congratulated after his winner for Leverkusen ©Getty Images

Bayer 04 Leverkusen are in the box seat to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage after a topsy-turvy 3-2 play-off first-leg victory away to FC København.

• Kiessling fires sixth goal in two games for Leverkusen
• Jørgensen puts FCK level four minutes later
• Amartey then puts hosts ahead inside 13 minutes
• Bellarabi rifles in to make it 2-2 after 31 minutes
• Son wins it for Leverkusen before half-time

Stefan Kiessling struck five times inside an hour as Leverkusen started their season with a 6-0 German cup victory at SV Alemannia Waldalgesheim on Friday, and he continued his rich vein of form with the opener after five minutes. Giulio Donati slipped in Hakan Çalhanoğlu down the right flank and his low cross was expertly diverted inside the far post by Kiessling.

The goal was in keeping with FCK's form at the Parken Stadium – they came into the game with back-to-back league reverses at home – but their response was a stark contrast to their recent disappointments. Remarkably, Ståle Solbakken's men were in front within eight minutes with Mathias Jørgensen central to the turnaround.

Thomas Delaney set a captain's example with a deflected drive that Bernd Leno tipped wide but from Pierre Bengtsson's resulting corner, Jørgensen towered above the visiting defence to plant a header in the far corner. Then a free-kick into the area was helped back across goal by Jørgensen and Daniel Amartey nodded in.

Sebastian Boenisch curled wide before Karim Bellarabi swept in the equaliser from their next opening after a speculative long ball had bounced into his path off the back of Per Nilsson. Roger Schmidt's charges completed a transformation of their own before the break as Çalhanoğlu's through ball found Son Heung-Min and he converted via the far post.

The contest remained wide open after the interval with Stephan Andersen making outstanding saves to deny Çalhanoğlu and Son. The hosts were barely keeping their heads above water from a string of Leverkusen counterattacks with the FCK No1 rushing from his goal to block from Bellarabi as he raced through. Surprisingly no more goals materialised, leaving the Danish team still with a chance of progress.