MX23RW : Thursday, July 29 10:29:03| >> :600:142012:142012:
Dec 10, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at BayArena
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
4-0
Slavia PragueSlavia Prague
Bailey (8', 32'), Diaby (59'), Bellarabi (90+1')
Schick (39'), Onur (84')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Slavia Prague - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Slavia Prague, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bayer Leverkusen welcome Slavia Prague to the BayArena on Thursday evening to determine who will finish top of Europa League Group C.

Both teams have already qualified for the round of 32 and boast 12 points each, although Slavia Prague currently occupy top spot ahead of second-placed Leverkusen.


Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz pictured in October 2020© Reuters

The loss of Kai Havertz to Chelsea has certainly not affected Leverkusen's goalscoring capabilities, with the German outfit notching up 17 goals in five group stage matches - the highest out of any team in this year's tournament.

Peter Bosz's men have only been kept at bay once in the 2020-21 edition, which happened in the Czech capital as Slavia enjoyed a 1-0 victory over their midweek opponents courtesy of a Peter Olayinka goal back in October.

Leverkusen have notched up at least three goals in their other four matches in Group C, and while the German outfit managed to thrash Nice 6-2 at home on the first matchday, last week's affair was much closer by comparison as Bosz's side scraped a 3-2 victory at the Allianz Riviera.

Nevertheless, that result confirmed Leverkusen's spot in the round of 32, and given how Die Werkself have performed both domestically and continentally, Bosz's side can be forgiven for harbouring dreams about European glory.

Bosz's men maintained their unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season at the weekend as they easily overcame Schalke 3-0, with Malick Thiaw turning into his own net before second-half goals from Julian Baumgartlinger and Patrik Schick made sure of the win.

Slavia Prague coach Jindrich Trpisovsky pictured on November 5, 2019© Reuters

Slavia Prague have also swept aside the competition in Group C with four wins and one loss so far, with the Czech giants' solitary defeat coming at the hands of Hapoel Be'er Sheva in their maiden game of the tournament.

Since that 3-1 defeat in Petah Tikva, Slavia recorded that narrow triumph over Leverkusen as well as two successive wins over Nice, and Jindrich Trpisovsky's men gained revenge over Be'er Sheva by winning 3-0 on their own turf against the Israeli outfit last week.

The Fortuna Liga champions can match Leverkusen's terrific spell of form with seven wins from their last eight in all competitions, and Slavia simply eased past Sparta Prague in the weekend's capital derby.

Nineteen-year-old Abdallah Sima bagged a first-half brace after Slavia goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar had saved from 12 yards, and Ondrej Lingr added a third in the second 45 to propel Trpisovsky's side to a resounding 3-0 victory over their bitter rivals.

If there is a victor in Thursday's tie between Leverkusen and Slavia, they will finish top of the group. If both teams walk away with a share of the spoils, Slavia will place first and Leverkusen will go through as runners-up.

Bayer Leverkusen Europa League form: WLWWW
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WWWDWW

Slavia Prague Europa League form: LWWWW
Slavia Prague form (all competitions): WWWDWW


Team News

Bayer Leverkusen players celebrate Lucas Alario's goal against Borussia Monchengladbach on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Kerem Demirbay has tested positive for coronavirus since last week's win over Nice and will definitely miss out here, while Lucas Alario is still nursing a knee injury.

Exequiel Palacios, Charles Aranguiz and Santiago Arias are all long-term absentees for the hosts, who are expected to make a number of changes with nothing on the line in this bout.

The likes of Karim Bellarabi, Mitchell Weiser and Edmond Tapsoba - the latter of whom has recently recovered from COVID-19 - could all be handed starting roles at the BayArena.

Slavia do not have as many injury concerns to take into account for this one, but David Hovorka is yet to return from a knee injury he sustained on international duty last month.

Tomas Malinsky and Laco Takacs are both struggling with muscular problems as well, but the latter is ineligible for the Europa League anyway.

Sima's double in the Prague derby took him up to 11 for the season in all competitions and he will look to keep that run going here, while Petar Musa and Nicolae Stanciu will be vying for spots in the visitors' first XI.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Weiser, Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell; Baumgartlinger, Wirtz, Turkmen; Bellarabi, Schick, Diaby

Slavia Prague possible starting lineup:
Kolar; Holes, Kudela, Karafiat, Boril; Sevcik, Traore; Sima, Stanciu, Olayinka; Musa


SM words green background

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Slavia Prague

Both of these sides are in excellent form and boast youthful quality in attack, but with Leverkusen and Slavia already guaranteed to go through, the two managers need not take any unnecessary risks in search of a win. Rotation is likely to be on the cards, and while Leverkusen certainly should not be underestimating the visitors, we still expect the Bundesliga giants to march to victory and finish atop the rankings in Group C.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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