Europa League Group A Preview & Predictions – AEK Larnaca / Leverkusen / Ludogorets / FC Zurich

AEK Larnaca

* Come through 3 rounds of qualifying
* 5 clean sheets in 6 games
* Finished 4th in the Cypriot League last season
* Won the Cypriot Cup 2-1 v Apollon Limassol
* Had the best home record in the division
* Only conceded 7 goals in 13 games at home
* Qualified for the group stage in 11/12
* But finished bottom of the group below Schalke, Steua Bucharest and Maccabi Hafia

Bayer Leverkusen

* 5th in Bundesliga last season
* Level on points with 4th (Dortmund) and 3rd (Hoffenheim) – 55. Only 3 goals off Dortmund on goal difference
* Kevin Volland – Top Goal Scorer – 14 Goals
* 3rd best away form in the league
* Lost their opening 2 games this season
* Sold Bernd Leno to Arsenal

Ludogorets

* Won the Bulgarian League last season
* 7th league title in a row
* Only conceded 13 goals in. 26 games
* Lost in the 2nd round of Champions League qualification
* Played in the Champions League in 12/13, 16/17 and 17/18
* Lost to AC Milan in the Europa League last 32 last season 0-4

FC Zurich

* Won the Swiss Cup last season
* Beat Young Boys 2-1 in the final with 10 men
* Young Boys qualified for the Champions League this season as they won the Swiss League by 15 points
* Been in the Europa League 4 of last 7 years
* Never made it to the knockout phases

Verdict:

Bayer Leverkusen are the strongest team in the group
Ludogrets should push them closet as they are good defensively
Larnaca have done well to get to this stage
Zurich are likely to be hard to beat but are unlikely to qualify

Prediction:

Winner: Leverkusen
Runner Up Ludogorets
3rd: Zurich
4th: AEK Larnaca

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