Saturday, June 23, 2018

UEFA Champions League Preview: Bayer Leverkusen v Real Sociedad

SoccerNews in La Liga 30 Sep 2013


Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad will be seeking their first UEFA Champions League points of the season when they meet on Wednesday.

The Liga outfit were beaten 2-0 by Shakhtar Donetsk in their group stage opener, while Leverkusen went down 4-2 against Premier League champions Manchester United.

However, the Bundesliga side have won all three matches in the league since their defeat at Old Trafford, scoring eight goals and conceding just once in the process.

Sami Hyypia’s side third in the German top flight after their 2-0 win over Hannover on Saturday and face champions Bayern Munich on Saturday.

However, Hyypia is focused on Wednesday’s game, rather than the meeting with Pep Guardiola’s men.

“The next game is the most important,” he told the Bundesliga website. “We play Real first. It’s not a problem.

“Spanish teams are always very strong technically and play attractive football.

“That won’t be any different against Real Sociedad. Of course we’re at home and want to win. Otherwise we won’t go any further.”

Leverkusen have enjoyed 100 per cent records in the group stages of the competition in their past two campaigns, with Hyypia unsure on whether he will rotate his squad for the clash with Jagoba Arrasate’s men.

Sociedad have never recorded a European win on German soil, losing two and drawing one of their three encounters in the country.

Arrasate’s charges have not won since their Champions League qualifier against Lyon in August, losing two and drawing three of their last five league games.

The 35-year-old was pleased with the performance of his side during their 1-1 draw with Sevilla on Saturday but feels that they are in need of a win to boost confidence.

“I’m happy with the effort that we put in (against Sevilla),” he said.

“But we need a win to recover that joy, that confidence that victories bring.”

Xabi Prieto is unlikely to feature for the visitors, having suffered a thigh tear in his side’s 4-1 defeat against Barcelona, while loanee Esteban Granero will miss out.

The midfielder suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during the defeat against Shakhtar.

In what will be the sides’ first meeting, defeat would see the losers cast three points adrift at the bottom of Group A.


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