German giants Bayer Leverkusen hope to continue the good run of results against Real Sociedad and at the same time make amends for the 4-2 defeat to Manchester United in their opening group game. Their opponents are going through a very rough patch at the moment and arrive at Bay Arena on the back of a six-match winless run.
Leverkusen continue to impress
While Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have stolen the spotlight in German Bundesliga over the last couple of years, Bayer Leverkusen have got to be congratulated for what have achieved with a pretty limited budget. Die Werkself have earned the tag best of the rest in a very competitive league, while nobody would be surprised if they even mount a serious title challenge this term. Sami Hyypia’s side have been absolutely amazing in this year’s Bundesliga, winning six of seven league fixtures to climb to third place in the standings, where they are just one point adrift of Borussia and Bayern. The team also gave a good account of themselves in the 4-2 defeat at Old Trafford, but having won all three matches since, chances are they will fare much better against out-of-sorts Real Sociedad at their Bay Arena. Given that Sami Hyypia will once again have the courtesy of picking from a fully fit squad, chances are die Werkself will be extending their winning run at home to eight games, although they will have to be wary of the opposition attackers, who could prove to be a real handful.
With no first team regulars missing at the moment, Sami Hyypia can field his strongest line-up on Wednesday evening.
La Real under pressure
Real Sociedad produced quite a coup by achieving a top 4 finish in La Liga last term, while they also impressed to pip Lyon to a place in the Champions League group stages. However, the team have been largely struggling to replace Asier Illarramendi this term, whereas they have been unable to cope with the busy schedule. It is slowly becoming clear that inexperienced coach Jagoba Arrasate was not the best choice and he does not seem to have what it takes to help the team turn this season around. Following a pretty promising start to the season, Real Sociedad have suffered a major dip in form, losing the Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk, while picking up just three points from next five league fixtures. Having failed to defeat Sevilla, one of the worst travellers in Spain, at home, La Real go into the Bayer Leverkusen game very low on spirits, which is likely to prove a big problem against a side that are on top of their game at the moment. Seeing that the visitors have nothing to lose, they are expected to adopt attack-minded approach, but, everything considered, I just cannot see them getting anything from Germany.
Antoine Griezmann is a major doubt despite making the plane to Leverkusen, but Diego Ifran, Esteban Granero, Xabi Prieto and Daniel Estrada are definitely out.
In-form Bayer Leverkusen look a good bet to see off struggling Real Sociedad, who are also missing quite a few first team regulars at the moment. Chances are that we will see an entertaining encounter at Bay Arena given that both sides tend to play attacking football, but home win should never come into question.
Top pick: Home win 1.75 (3/4) @ 888sport
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score 1.73 (8/11) @ Stan James
Alternative pick 2: Home win + both teams to score 3.75 (11/4) @ William Hill
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