Bayer Leverkusen – AEK Larnaca SOCCER PICKS
Bayer Leverkusen and AEK Larnaca meet at BayArena, in a match for this phase of the UEFA Europa League (Group Stage). These two teams have never faced each other before, so this will be their first direct confrontation. In this game the home factor may be decisive, since both teams present considerable differences in the results achieved at home and as a visitor.
The home team comes to this 2nd round of Group A after a victory in its opening in this group stage, against Ludogorets, by (2-3). This is a team that, oddly enough, has had better results in away matches than at home, since in the last 30 matches they register 8 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses in away matches; against 7 wins, 2 draws and 6 losses at their stadium. In their last match, for the Bundesliga, they got a home loss against Borussia Dortmund by (2-4). In the last 10 home matches Bayer Leverkusen has a record of 5 wins, 1 draw and 4 losses. They have not been very strong defensively, since they have suffered goals in 7 of the last 10 matches, but their offense has scored frequently, since they have scored goals in 8 of the last 10 matches. In their home matches there is a tendency to have goals, since in 47 of their last 55 matches there were Over 1,5 goals and in 37 of the last 55 there were Over 2,5 goals.
The Bayer Leverkusen part for this game with a defeat, by 2-4, in the reception of Borussia Dortmund: the goals of the team were marked by Tah and Weiser. It is important to underline that the Germans added a positive victory in the first day of the group stage of the Europa League, by beating Ludogorets by 2-3. In this home game coach Heiko Herrlich must keep the team in 4-2-3-1, with Lucas Alario being the team’s most offensive reference. On the other hand, the attacking midfielder Kai Havertz, the best score of Bayer Leverkusen, with 3 goals scored. For this game the coach still can not count on Retsos and Aranguiz, due to injury.
The visiting team plays their second match in Group A, having lost by (0-1) in their first match in this group stage, against Zürich. This is a team that usually makes good use of the home advantage, stronger with the help of its supporters, since in the last 30 matches they register 5 wins, 8 draws and 2 losses in away matches, with 18 goals scored and 13 conceded; against 12 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses at their stadium, with 43 goals scored and 10 conceded. In the last match they played, for the Super Cup, they beat APOEL by (1-4) in the shoot-out on penalties. In the last 10 away matches AEK Larnaca has won 4, tied 5 and lost 1 of the last matches. Defensive consistency has been one of their best features, as they have only conceded goals in 2 of the last 7 matches, and their offense has scored consistently, as they have scored goals in 5 of the last 7 matches for this competition.
The AEK Larnaca leaves for this game with a triumph in the penalties against APOEL, in a game for the Cyprus Super Cup. However, we must underline that the visitors lost against Zurich, in the first match for the Europa League. Coach Andoni Iraola usually has a standard tactical system aligned, aligned in 4-3-3, with Apostolos Giannou being the team’s most offensive reference. However, it is important to underline that the midfielder Trickovski is one of the great dangers in the attack front of the AEK Larnaca, being very strong in the offensive transition. For this game the coach can not count on Truyols, Larena and Antoniades, players recovering from injury.