Bayer Leverkusen boss Roger Schmidt praised his side’s performance against an ‘incredibly dangerous’ Atletico Madrid despite falling to a first leg defeat.
Goals from Saul Niguez, Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Torres and Kevin Gameiro saw Los Rojiblancos run out 4-2 winners in the Bayer Arena to take a massive step towards the last eight of the competition.
"It was a very difficult evening for us. It is easy to see how Atletico have reached two finals in three years," Schmidt told reporters after the game
"We did not start particularly well. We knew of their counter-attacking abilities before the game, but we ended up shipping two goals in the first half. I am proud of our response in the second half, though. We even had an opportunity to make it 3-3, but it was not to be in the end.
"We created our own problems by giving the ball away unnecessarily and not winning enough second balls. We made it easier for Atletico to display their qualities.
"Atletico are an incredibly dangerous team to play against, particularly when they are winning away from home.
"The quality of our opponents, and our response in the second half, should not be underestimated.
"Only Real Madrid have managed to get the better of Atletico in the past couple of seasons, so it would be unfair to say we lost to them because of our lack of experience."