Here is our preview of Thursday's Europa League group stage clash between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and BK Häcken, including predicted lineups.
|Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
Xabi Alonso's men have made an excellent start to the season with 10 points from four games and are top of the Bundesliga after a 2-2 draw with German champions Bayern Munich last week.
They are currently third in the Swedish Allsvenskan and qualified for the Europa League with a 5-3 aggregate win over Scottish side Aberdeen.
Leverkusen will undoubtedly go into the game as clear favorites, but that doesn't mean they're expecting a cakewalk.
"Being the favorite doesn't mean anything. You have to go on the pitch with the right mentality, otherwise it's difficult against any opponent," said Xabi Alonso at the pre-match press conference.
"If they can beat Malmø and other teams in the Swedish league, it means something. They have a clear approach to the game and are particularly strong on the technical side. We have a lot of respect for them.
The Spanish coach, who has a full squad at his disposal with the exception of Patrik Schick and Arthur, also said that "a few changes" are possible.
"We will have to rotate in the coming weeks. So we need every player to be flexible in the system at all times. All the players have been working well and are ready".
Predicted Bayer Leverkusen vs. Häcken lineups:
Bayer Leverkusen: Hradecky - Kossounou, Tapsoba, Tah - Frimpong, Xhaka, Andrich, Grimaldo - Adli, Hofmann - Hlozek.
Häcken: Abrahamsson - Sandberg, Ousou, Hovland, Fridriksson - Romeo, Gustafson, Rygaard - Layouni, Hrstic, Sonko.