Europe: Europa League
FT
5 - 1
(3 - 0)
Leverkusen
Molde
P. Schick (6), E. Tapsoba (22), A. Hložek (60), A. Hložek (70)
M. Ellingsen (25), E. Kitolano (75)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Xabi guarantees Schick start against Molde

At his Wednesday pre-match presser, Bayer 045 Leverkusen trainer Xabi Alonso guaranteed Czech striker Patrik Schick a start in tomorrow's Europa League fixture against Molde.  Schick himself was in attendance at the presser and declared himself "finally 100 percent fit".
After scoring off the bench in his long-awaited comeback to a Leverkusen scoresheet fortnight ago, long-injured Bayer striker Patrik Schick will receive his first start in a Werskelf tricot for the first time since of October of 2022 tomorrow against Molde. Sitting alongside the Czech international at a Wednesday presser, B04 trainer Xabi Alonso remarked with a smirk that the 27-year-old "had been informed".

It remains to be seen whether Schick will go the full 90 minutes in what amounts to a "dead-rubber" in Leverkusen's final UEL group stage fixture. One can nevertheless act on the assumption that Schick will be auditioning for a permanent starting place during the month of January, when team leading goal-scorer Victor Boniface will be on AFCON duty with Nigeria.

Boniface could miss up to six competitive fixtures, including the DFB-Pokal quarterfinal. After multiple injury layoffs spanning 18 months, it's possible that the 35-times-capped international may not be able to cope with the workload. Schick sought to allay such fears at the presser by declaring himself "finally 100 percent fit". Schick's fellow striker Adam Hlozek is the only other natural nine on Leverkusen's roster.

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