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Leverkusen's greatest European nights

As Leverkusen prepare for their 200th UEFA club competition game, UEFA.com looks back at the Werkself's most thrilling continental encounters, 4-4s a speciality.

Falko Götz and Wolfgang Rolff celebrate Leverkusen's 1987/88 UEFA Cup final success
Falko Götz and Wolfgang Rolff celebrate Leverkusen's 1987/88 UEFA Cup final success ©Getty Images

The Haberland miracle
Leverkusen 3-0 Espanyol (agg: 3-3, aet, Leverkusen win 3-2 on pens)
18/05/1988, UEFA Cup final second leg

Seemingly dead and buried after a 3-0 first-leg defeat in Barcelona, Erich Ribbeck's side evened things up in a devastating second-half spell at the Ulrich-Haberland-Stadion, Tita (57), Falko Götz (63) and Cha Bum-Kun (81) on target. Ralf Falkenmayer missed Bayer's first shoot-out attempt, but Santiago Urquiaga hit the bar, Rüdiger Vollborn saved from Manuel Zúñiga – "I just stood up and it more or less hit me" – and Sebastián Losada shot over to give the German team the trophy. "18 May 1988 was the best day of my life," Vollborn recalled.

The first of the three 4-4s
Leverkusen 4-4 Benfica
15/03/94, UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-final second leg

Highlights: Leverkusen 4-4 Roma
Highlights: Leverkusen 4-4 Roma

Some 19 4-4s share the record for the highest scoring draws in UEFA club competition, and three featured Leverkusen: one against AEK Athens in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup third round, one against Roma in this season's UEFA Champions League, and this one. "That was one of the best matches that I have seen," Leverkusen boss Berti Vogts said at full-time, drained after his side went out of the competition on away goals. After a 1-1 first-leg draw, Leverkusen led 2-0 on the night, and then trailed 3-2 until the final ten minutes, when Ulf Kirsten and Pavel Hapal restored their advantage, only for Vasili Kulkov to head the leveller.

The two hat-trick thriller
Leverkusen 5-4 PSV Eindhoven
13/09/94, UEFA Cup first round first leg

Dragoslav Stepanović addresses Ulf Kirsten
Dragoslav Stepanović addresses Ulf Kirsten©Getty Images

Kirsten looked unlikely to be upstaged after netting a first-half hat-trick against PSV to leave Leverkusen 4-1 up at the break, but a 17-year-old Ronaldo was not to be upstaged, striking twice to complete his own treble. "Ronaldo is more than just a natural talent," said Leverkusen boss Dragoslav Stepanović afterwards, though the coach was no less proud of his own side as it ended 5-4, Bernd Schuster and PSV's Luc Nilis scoring to complete an unforgettable night. "We've made European history," Stepanović concluded.

Bayer attack at all costs
Leverkusen 4-2 Liverpool
09/04/02, UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg

Leverkusen after ousting Liverpool
Leverkusen after ousting Liverpool©Getty Images

Having lost the first leg 1-0, Leverkusen levelled the aggregate scores on 16 minutes through Michael Ballack, but Abel Xavier's header meant they were back to square one at the interval. Cue a stunning attacking comeback. "We abandoned the four at the back and were rewarded for taking a risk," said coach Klaus Toppmöller. Ballack nodded his team back into contention before Dimitar Berbatov added a third. Liverpool replied through Jari Litmanen and were heading through on away goals until defender Lúcio conjured the 84th-minute clincher.

Almost upstaging Zidane
Leverkusen 1-2 Real Madrid
15/05/02, UEFA Champions League final

Zidane's final volley
Zidane's final volley

Branded 'Neverkusen' after just missing out on every instalment of a Bundesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League treble that season, Leverkusen's effort in the Glasgow final could not be faulted. Lúcio cancelled out Raúl González's opener, and the Werkself were not disheartened by Zinédine Zidane's stunning volley before half-time, only Iker Casillas denying them another equaliser. "If you had offered us second place in the competition at the start of the season, I would have said you were mad," noted Toppmöller.