- Both coaches single out ‘Chicharito’ as a man that could cause Atlético problems
- Atlético beat Leverkusen 3-2 on penalties at this stage in 2014/15
- Leverkusen are unbeaten in ten UEFA competition home games (W5 D5)
- For latest from Leverkusen visit our match blog
- Jan Oblak, out since 12 December, set for late fitness test
Leverkusen: Leno; Henrichs, Toprak, Dragović, Wendell; Aránguiz, Kampl; Bellarabi, Brandt; Havertz, Hernández.
Out: Hakan Çalhanoğlu (suspended), Tah (thigh)
Doubtful: Bender (knock)
Misses next match if booked: Henrichs
Atlético: Oblak/Moyà; Vrsaljko, Savić, Giménez, Luís; Carrasco, Gabi, Koke, Ñíguez; Griezmann, Torres.
Out: Tiago (knee), Godín (groin), Fernández (knee), Juanfran (thigh)
Doubtful: Gaitán (leg), Oblak (shoulder)
Misses next match if booked: Gabi, Filipe Luís
Roger Schmidt, Leverkusen coach
We go into the game with a lot of confidence – we’re looking forward to it. As far as I recall, we were unlucky to lose to Atlético at this stage two seasons ago.
We need to make sure we make the right decisions in the final third in order to get a positive result. In games like this, it’s very important to have a player who can stick the ball in the back of the net, and Javier Hernández has been doing that for us of late.
Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
Leverkusen are a very strong side, particularly down the wings with Karim Bellarabi and Kai Havertz. Up front they have Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández, who is in fine form. However they line up, they will be looking to make life as tough as possible for us.
We’re playing against a team with great intensity, but we have great intensity too. Passion is very important in football, so I’m intrigued to see how this tie unfolds.
Augsburg 1-3 Leverkusen (Kohr 60; Bellarabi 23, Hernández 40 65)
Karim Bellarabi struck the Bundesliga’s 50,000th goal – and his first league effort since April – from a cross by Kai Havertz, who also provided the pass for Javier Hernández to score the clincher at the second attempt. The Mexican’s double on Friday took his tally to five in three games and ten top-flight goals for the season.
Sporting Gijón 1-4 Atlético (Álvarez 49; Carrasco 46, Gameiro 80 81 85)
Kevin Gameiro came off the bench just past the hour and netted the second-fastest hat-trick in Liga history to ensure Atleti consolidated their top-four status after being pushed all the way by struggling Sporting. It took Gameiro four minutes and 45 seconds to take the score from 1-1 to 4-1, the quickest since Bebeto’s record treble for Deportivo against Albacete in 1995.
Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Reporter’s view: Matthew Howarth (@UEFAcomMattH)
Leverkusen could hardly have picked a better time to tackle last season’s finalists. Schmidt’s side have just won back-to-back Bundesliga matches for the first time since November, star striker Hernández is scoring goals for fun and winger Bellarabi has hit the ground running after a long injury lay-off. Atlético have been superb of late, though, collecting 20 points from their last eight Liga games. With both teams in such impressive form, expect a highly entertaining encounter.