EUROPE: Europa League
Time: 9:00 PM
Venue: BayArena (Leverkusen)
The top two in UEFA Europa League (UEL) Group G clash here at the BayArena in the west of Germany as fourth in the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen, play host to fifth in La Liga, Real Betis. Despite the hosts’ lofty position in the German top flight and the fact they lead the way in UEL Group G courtesy of goal difference (W2, D1), it’s not been plain sailing of late with a 2-0 loss to Wolfsburg at the weekend following their shock departure from the DFB-Pokal at the hands of Karlsruher a few days prior.
That said, Leverkusen will know that victory here will almost guarantee their safe passage to the UEL knockout stages, whilst their previous home record versus Spanish opposition (W3, D2, L1) will come as a confidence boost. Gerardo Seoane’s side have also won six of their previous seven UEL home matches (L1) and have lost just three times in their last 23 such games in this competition, which stands them in good stead here.
Betis arrive here on the back of an equally poor 3-0 loss to Atlético Madrid last time out which ended their previous four-game unbeaten stint across all competitions (W3, D1). In better news, the visitors remain unbeaten across their last seven away UEL matches (W4, D3) since November 2013, which should lift spirits heading into this crucial clash.
The away side will need to improve defensively to grab all three points on offer here though as Betis have kept just two clean sheets in 15 competitive matches this campaign, averaging 1.33 goals conceded per outing during that stint.
Players to watch: Robert Andrich scored his first-ever European goal in the reverse H2H and Leverkusen are now unbeaten in his last 12 goalscoring games (W6, D6). Betis’ Juanmi has seven goal contributions in 12 competitive matches this season (6G, 1A), including two strikes in two UEL appearances.
- Bayer Leverkusen’s form in last 5 matches: LLDDL.
- Betis’s form in last 5 matches: LWWDW.