21 February 2020
Bayer Leverkusen and Porto come face to face at the BayerArena in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League (EL) Round-of-32 tie.
Although their European journey for the 2019/20 season started in the UEFA Champions League (CL), the hosts will have to try their luck in the EL Round of 32 after finishing third in their CL group with a record of two wins and four defeats. All three of their European home results (win/loss) this term have seen the winner on the day open the scoring and subsequently add precisely one goal, with two yielding the same 2-1 scoreline (W1, L2). The Bundesliga giants have drawn almost half (seven) of their last 15 continental home fixtures, winning five of the other eight (L3). But, ‘Die Werkself’ have racked up a six-game unbeaten EL run at the BayArena (W3, D3), losing just twice in 16 EL home matches, qualifying included (W9, D5, L2). Moreover, Peter Bosz’s men have secured three consecutive victories ahead of this clash, with each seeing over 2.5 goals and both teams on the scoresheet.
Meanwhile, the visitors, who have won nine of 12 competitive games since the turn of the year (D1, L2), are through to the Round of 32, having finished winners of Group G (W3, D1, L2) a lot harder than expected. Indeed, they’ve had to beat Young Boys on Matchday 5 and Feyenoord on Matchday 6 to seal qualification after going winless in three straight EL matches (D1, L2). Both of Porto’s European defeats this term came away from home and produced the exact 2-0 scoreline. In turn, they had failed to pick up a single win in eight EL away fixtures (D2, L6) before securing the abovementioned win over Young Boys. The Dragons now face another formidable challenge of halting a 13-game winless run in UEFA’s knockout stage road trips (D4, L9).
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