Bayern Leverkusen have a mountain to climb when they welcome Villarreal for the second leg clash of the UEFA Europa League knockout round at Bay Arena on Thursday night.
Bayer Leverkusen were comprehensively beaten by 2 goals to nil in the first leg at El Madrigal and the yellow submarines hold a heavy advantage going into this clash.
Levekusen are unbeaten at home in this year’s UEFA Competitions including the qualifying stages for Champions League. However, they have only won twice in their last 8 matches in Europe.
They are coming on the back of a 1-0 home win against Hamburg in Bundesliga, which is their first win in the last five league games.
Villarreal are on a poor form on the road and failed to win in their last 8 away matches in all competitions. They held a similar advantage in the round of 16 of Europa league against strong favourites Napoli after winning the first leg at home by a solo goal and then went on to grab a 1-1 draw in the return leg to secure qualification to the round of 16.
Bayer Leverkusen: Team News
Leverkusen are missing a number of first team players especially in defense as Sebastian Boenisch, Roberto Hilbert and Ömer Toprak are sidelined, while Tin Jedvaj is suspended.
In midfield they will be without Captain Lars Bender, Kevin Kampl, Marlon Frey and Charles Aranguiz, while Christoph Kramer is a doubt after suffering a head injury.
Bayer Leverkusen: Predicted Line-up vs Villarreal (4-2-3-1)
Leno – Wendell, Ramalho, Papadopoulos, Tah – Kramer, Calhanoglu – Bellarbi, Brandt, Mehmedi – Chicharito.
Villarreal: Team News
The yellow submarines were already without injured Jonathan dos Santos and Samuel in the first leg, who are now joined by defenders Mateo Musacchio and Jaume Costa.
Reserve goal keeper Areola who started in the first leg clash is also injured and Sergio Asenjo could take his place here. Villarreal head coach Marcelino could start with the same line-up he used in the first leg in Spain.
Villarreal: Predicted Line-up
Asenjo – Mario, Bailly, Ruiz, Rukavina – Suarez, Trigueros, Bruno, Castillejo – Bakambu, Soldado.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Villarreal: Head-to-Head Stats
After the first leg win in El Madrigal, Villarreal have now won all of the three matches against Bayern Leverkusen.
The teams were drawn against each other in the round of 16 of the 2010-11 UEFA Europa League competition. Villarreal won both the ties then starting off with a 3-2 win at Leverkusen and finish off with the 2-1 win back home.
Criteria for Qualification
First Leg: Villrreal 2-0 Leverkusen
>Leverkusen must win with a 3 goal difference to qualify to quarterfinals.
>A 2-0 win for Leverkusen will take the match to extra time and penalties if the score remains the same.
>Villarreal need a draw or avoid defeat by more than 3 goals to advance to next round.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Villarreal: Prediction
Villarreal are clear favourites to advance to the quarter finals despite their poor overall away form. While Bayern Leverkusen is plagued by injury and are missing a number of key players. They may still come out with a narrow win here, but one goal from Villarreal will change the equation completely. It is more likely that this match could end up in a draw.