The restructured Europa League renders the group stage far more important than in competitions past. First-place in the group allows a team to bypass and intermediate round against the demoted Champions' League teams and head straight to the UEL knockouts.
Aware that this new format would affect his squad rotations, Bayer Leverkusen trainer Gerardo Seoane sought to remain coy about his selections for Thursday's group-stage-fixture against Ferencvaros Budapest.
The Werkself coach nevertheless revealed much in his last pre-match presser.
If the manner in which Peter Bosz rotated his squad in last season's Europa League served as any indication, the Leverkusen squad rotations ahead of their Europa League debut this evening would appear to be straightforward.
Those who didn't start over the weekend--Lucas Alario, Nadiem Amiri, Karim Bellarabi, Nadiem Amiri, Daley Sinkgraven, Amine Adli, Exequiel Palacios, Piero Hincapie, and maybe even Panigiotos Retsos--might all be in line for a start on Thursday.
B04 head-coach Gerardo Seoane acknowledged that his roster depth gave him a lot of options at a Thursday press conference.
"You could change 8,9, or 10 players and still have the feeling that there is a Bundesliga team on the pitch," Seoane noted, "the question is, 'how many changes make sense?' My goal is not to give you guys [reports] too much of a whiff."
Seoane did ultimately end-up hinting at heavy rotations as the media event progressed. He committed to starting Jonathan Tah, who sat by his side. Additionally, Seoane seemed to affirm a leaning towards starting Hincapie.
"Piero is in the squad selection and he has a good chance of playing from the start," the coach noted, "We want to see him live on the pitch as soon as possible."
For German football clubs in the European club football competitions, there will not be many opportunities to rest players between now and Christmas. Accordingly, Seoane emphasized that he wished to keep everyone involved, engaged, and invested via squad rotations.
"I tried to convey again to the team today that every player will be very important to us," the trainer said when asked about his reserves, "because there will only be short or English weeks between now and Christmas."
For Leverkusen players such as Alario, Hincapie, Paulinho, Palacios, and midfielder Charles Aranguiz, this autumn's two remaining international breaks hardly count as a rest cure.
Those South American internationals called upon to represent their countries in the CONMEBOL qualifiers face a long a tiring cross-hemisphere schlep between Bundesliga rounds.
|1||Lukáš Hradecky (C)|
|22||Daley Sinkgraven ↩66|
|25||Exequiel Palacios ⚽ ↩50|
|27||Florian Wirtz ⚽ ↩81|
|31||Amine Adli ↩67|
|13||Lucas Alario ↩66|
|14||Patrik Schick ↪66|
|38||Karim Bellarabi ↪67|
|33||Piero Hincapié ↪66|
|11||Nadiem Amiri ↪81|
|20||Charles Aránguiz ↪50|
|90||Dénes Dibusz (C)|
|11||Oleksandr Zubkov ↩86|
|19||Bálint Vécsei ↩66|
|44||Stjepan Lončar ↩76|
|8||Ryan Mmaee ⚽|
|77||Myrto Uzuni ↪66|
|80||Željko Gavrić ↪76|
|23||Marijan Čabraja ↪86|
|53||Dominik Csontos Zoltán|