Former Manchester United goalkeeper Matej Kovar finally made his Bundesliga debut during Bayer Leverkusen’s goalless draw against Borussia Monchengladbach.
Leverkusen, who are hoping to beat Bayern Munich to the title, dropped two points but remain at the summit of the Bundesliga standings with 49 points, two clear of Thomas Tuchel’s men in second place.
Despite having most of the possession, Leverkusen couldn’t make their control count as Monchengladbach ensured the spoils were shared.
The surprise inclusion in Xabi Alonso’s starting XI was Kovar, who had previously never played in the Bundesliga before.
Kovar left United in the summer for a nominal fee of £7.78million, much to the disappointment of most fans who had high hopes for him.
He spent last season out on loan at Sparta Prague, where he impressed as he helped the side win the Czech First League title.
During United’s pre-season tour, Kovar came on for the second half of the Red Devils’ opening pre-season friendly against Leeds United in Oslo and also played the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 defeat of Lyon in Edinburgh.
In both games, the 23-year-old impressed, especially with his kicking and distribution of the ball. It was a surprise when he wasn’t named in the squad for the tour of the United States.
However, the player has had no problem adapting to life in Germany. Before Saturday, he made seven appearances across both the DFB Pokal and the Europa League. He had conceded just five goals and kept three clean sheets.
Kovar’s exploits earned him his first taste of minutes in the Bundesliga and he certainly lived up to his billing.
Against Monchengladbach, Kovar made three saves, two of which were from inside his own box.
The shot-stopper made one high claim. He registered a total of 21 touches.
Kovar attempted 11 passes. He delivered all of them successfully, managing a 100% pass accuracy.
(Stats obtained from Sofascore)
He spoke to Leverkusen club media after the final whistle and gave his verdict on the match. Kovar said, “We had so many chances, we deserved a goal. It was just one of those days where nobody could score. But we’ll keep on our path!”
💬 Matej #Kovar : "We had so many chances, we deserved a goal. It was just one of those days where nobody could score. But we'll keep on our path!" ⚫️🔴#B04BMG | #Bayer04 #Werkself pic.twitter.com/CrvTrWNmti
— Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) January 27, 2024
He certainly showed United fans what he could have offered at Old Trafford if given a proper chance to earn a spot in Erik ten Hag’s set-up.