A late penalty canceled out Kevin Volland's opener as Leverkusen were held to a 1-1 draw in the Moscow. However, Tottenham Hotspur's 2-1 defeat in Monaco ensured that Leverkusen will advance to the knockout stage.
CSKA Moscow 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
(Natcho pen 76' - Volland 16')
Bayer Leverkusen were held to a 1-1 draw by CSKA Moscow, yet still managed to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.
Volland's first Champions League goal gave Leverkusen the lead after 15 minutes following a pinpoint cross from Kevin Kampl. But Bebars Natcho drew the hosts level from the spot with a quarter of an hour to play after a reckless Benjamin Henrichs lunge in the box.
Roger Schmidt made three changes to the side which lost 2-3 to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on Friday. Croatia's Tin Jedvaj replaced Wendell at right back, Kevin Volland came in for Julian Baumgartlinger in central midfield and Javier Hernandez returned up front in place of Admir Mehmedi.
With an average age of just 23 years and 346 days, it was the youngest starting 11 in Champions League history.
In freezing conditions in the Russian capital, the visitors were twice caught cold in the opening 10 minutes as Moscow counter-attacked through the pacey Aleksandr Golovin - but Bernd Leno was on hand to save.
It was a let-off for Leverkusen who recovered well and took the lead themselves five minutes later. Kevin Kampl's perfectly weighted ball found Volland in the box who, having beaten the offside trap, fired home past Igor Akinfeev to score his first Champions League goal.
CSKA were inches away from an equalizer when Alan Dzagoev spun brilliantly in the box but his volley flew just over the bar. At the other end, Ömer Toprak had the ball in the net after Akinfeev spilled a free-kick but the defender's strike was correctly ruled out for offside.
The second half progressed at a slower pace but German hearts were in mouths in the 69th minute when the ball fell to Golovin inside the six-yard-box following a CSKA corner. The Russian's shot sneaked under Leno but the Leverkusen goalkeeper recovered to stop the ball on the goalline.
Leverkusen were falling deeper and deeper and they were punished with fifteen minutes to play when CSKA were correctly awarded a penalty following a late Benjamin Henrichs lunge on Mario Fernandes - Bebars Natcho calmy tucked away the equalizer.
Volland almost put Leverkusen back in front immediately but his shot cannoned back off the post, as the game ended 1-1 - a result which proved enough for the Bundesliga side to finish second, following Tottenham's 2-1 defeat to Monaco later that evening.