Bayer Leverkusen vs Hacken Match Analysis & Prediction
21/09/2023 7:00 pm
Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen will kick off their Europa League campaign with a home game against Swedish champions Hacken on Thursday.
While the midweek contest represents Leverkusen’s first European game of the season, Hacken have made their way through qualifying to secure their place in the main draw.
Xabi Alonso has transformed Leverkusen’s fortunes since replacing Gerardo Seoane last October, as the Spaniard led the club from relegation to sixth place all while overseeing a run to the Europa League semi-finals.
The progress under Alonso’s watch has shown no signs of slowing down in the opening stages of the 2023-24 campaign, having won four and drawn one of their five competitive matches to make an unbeaten start to the season.
After beating fourth-tier Teutonia Ottensen 8-0 in the first round of the DFB Pokal, Leverkusen posted three successive league victories before they travelled to the Allianz Arena on Friday for a top-of-the-table encounter with perenial champions Bayern Munich.
Leverkusen certainly demonstrated they have enough quality to trouble Thomas Tuchel’s side after coming from behind on two occasions through Alex Grimaldo’s first-half free-kick and Exequiel Palacios’ dramatic stoppage-time penalty, ensuring they finished matchday four as the league leaders.
Alonso’s side will now turn their attention to their first Europa League group-stage game of the season, where they will look to showcase their firepower against European opposition after scoring 13 goals in their opening four Bundesliga matches.
While their hosts are in the early stages of their season, Hacken are set to enter the business end of a gripping title race in the Swedish top flight.
With seven league matchs left to play, the defending champions are sitting in third place following Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Kalmar, leaving them one point behind second-placed Elfsborg and two adrift of league leaders Malmo.
Hacken have had to balance their title defence alongside their European campaign, which got underway in July when they beat The New Saints 5-1 on aggregate in the first round of Champions League qualifying.
However, their hopes of reaching the main draw of the Champions League were ended by a penalty shootout defeat to KI, causing Hacken to drop down to Europa League qualifying, where they have beaten Zalgiris and Aberdeen to secure their spot in the group stage of a UEFA competition for the first time in their history.
Ahead of a tricky away trip to the BayArena, Per-Mathias Hogmo’s side may be able to draw inspiration from the fact that they won both of their away matches in Europa League qualifying by a 3-1 scoreline.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hacken Head to head
This will be the first meeting between these two teams.
21/09/2023Bayer LeverkusenN/AHackenN/AEuropa League
Bayer Leverkusen Team News
Leverkusen are still unable to call upon the injured trio of Arthur, Noah Mbamba and Patrik Schick, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Josip Stanisic are doubts due to injury and illness respectively.
Victor Boniface, who arrived from Belgian side Union SG in the summer, will be determined to transfer his impressive from onto the European stage after scoring five goals across all competitions this season.
Bayer Leverkusen's Last 5 Matches
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15/09/2023Bayern Munich2Bayer Leverkusen2Bundesliga
Hacken Team News
Hacken will travel to Germany without midfielder Filip Trpcevski and forward Blair Turgott, who are both sidelined with injury issues.
Summer signing Aiham Ousou is expected to make his third successive start in central defence, with Hogmo set to name an unchanged starting XI.
Hacken's Last 5 Matches
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hacken: Odds and Predictions
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