Germany's red company team need only to win to advance to the Europa League round-of-16 on Thursday. One day before the elimination match, Leverkusen head-coach Peter Bosz ruled out one player while welcoming back two more.
|Karim Bellarabi.||Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
The story of Leverkusen's campaign remains one of seemingly endless injury updates; half of which feel as if they involve the Bender twins. Despite returning to the starting XI this past weekend against Augsburg, Sven Bender will not be available for Thursday's clash at the BayArena. Trainer Peter Bosz confirmed this at a Wednesday presser.
"I substituted Sven off against Augsburg and he's not yet recovered from that game," the Dutch head-coach told reporters, "Hence, he's not available for tomorrow."
Two pieces of positive injury news did emerge from the Bayer camp. Bosz noted that both Nadiem Amiri (non-corona-related illness) and Karim Bellarabi (muscle tear) had been deemed fit enough for selection.
Bosz's Werkself have been in markedly poor league form since the turn of the calendar year. The team has achieved only two Bundesliga victories in the last nine rounds and sunk to fifth place in the table. An embarrassing defeat to Rot-Weiß-Essen in the DFB Pokal hasn't helped the team's confidence.
An Europa League exit at this stage would constitute a considerable set-back for a club that already regressed last season, forfeiting their place in the top-four to Borussia Mönchengladbach. The team currently sits five points adrift of a Champions' League place. VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt look to be in better shape to secure UCL football next year.
The arithmetic of the second-leg still favors the German UEL representatives after last week's 3-4 defeat at the Stadion Wankdorf. A win in a matches featuring less than nine goals or a draw in a fixture that features less than six goals will see Bayer through.