His spectacular volley was not enough to beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and Belgian champions KRC Genk went out of Europe, yet Jelle Vossen could still reflect on a "great experience" in Group E.
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Jelle Vossen was left to look back on "an enormous honour" as KRC Genk bowed out of the UEFA Champions League – and European competition for the season – with plenty of pride after a 1-1 draw against Group E runners-up Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The striker put his side in front with a memorable volley and, though Eren Derdiyok's late leveller restricted Genk to a third successive home draw, the Belgian champions believe the experience will be beneficial in the long run.
Jelle Vossen, Genk forward
It's obviously an enormous honour, and playing in the Champions League is a great experience. Of course you want to prove yourself and it give me great pleasure to be chosen as UEFA.com's Man of the Match. I've just seen the replay of my goal. My intention was to get to the ball before the defender when I saw the cross coming and I managed to do that, and I hit it really sweetly.
When we look back at the campaign there were highs and lows.
We are extremely satisfied that no team came here and won, but the contrast with our performances in the away matches was far too great. When we played away in Leverkusen we maybe deserved a bit more, but the way we played at Chelsea and Valencia was unacceptable and it's at those moments that you learn a lot as a team. Perhaps we were intimidated by the quality of the opposition in those games but, then again, we showed in our home matches that we are more than a match for teams at this level.
Fabien Camus, Genk midfielder
[On Vossen's goal] I got the ball and passed it to Dugary [Ndabashinze]; Jelle Vossen's strike [from Ndabashinze's cross] was excellent; it was a really good goal.
Gonzalo Castro, Leverkusen defender
Yes, I'm disappointed. We had the chances to have won the match. But we have seen that Genk are stronger on home turf than they are away. They got a draw against all three teams here, and they wanted to give their all for their fans tonight. Now we'll just have to wait and see who we get in the draw.
Daniel Schwaab, Leverkusen defender
We wanted to win tonight to put us in a better position for the round of 16 but we didn't manage that and so we're a bit disappointed.
Playing in the Champions League means playing at the highest level and so it means a lot for the whole club. There's a special atmosphere when top players from abroad come to Leverkusen to face us, it's really something unique. It's obviously nice to play against those big names but it's also more difficult.