Match Preview: Europa League, Fixture 4 (Group-stage), Bayer Leverkusen vs Aris Thessaloniki

Thursday, 4/11/2010, 19:00 (GMT+1) >>time in Europe has changed on Sunday!

Press conference (Thursday)

Opening statement Jupp Heynckes: “We have had a good start with one home win and two draws away in the Europa League.  It’s time to add another victory against an opponent who will not be easy to beat.  However, in comparison to the last weeks with a game every 3 days, we have enjoyed 2 days more of preparation.  This should translate into a top performance of my team tomorrow.”

Question: In Thessaloniki both teams were focused on defense.  Leverkusen has a better situation in the table than Aris, do you expect despite this a very defensive Greek team? If yes what effect will that have on your tactical formation?

Heynckes: I think Aris will not play differently then they do in their league or against us 2 weeks ago.  They are well organised at the back, this means that we will have to play quick, use our wings and force them to commit mistakes.

Question: Are they any new developments on the injuries?

Heynckes: Domagoj Vida will be available after 2 games of absence.  Renato Augusto will also join the squad for this match!

Question: Will you start with the best team? Or can we expect some rotations?

Heynckes: I always put the best team out there.  If I change something, it’s just to react to the opponent and the form of my players.

Question: I am surprised that Renato Augusto has recovered so quickly and will form part of the squad team tomorrow.  He will surely not play from the beginning but this means that he has worked well in Brazil and that a medical solution to his reappearing problems has been found?

Heynckes: That’s not correct.  The Brazilian doctor has just confirmed our diagnosis.  For South American players it’s important that their personal doctor who in this case also looks after the Brazilian national team confirms the club diagnosis.  He has trained in Brazil for two weeks and was yesterday in a relative good shape in our training session.  Of course he still needs a bit more time to be at 100%.

Stefan Reinartz statement: “In Thessaloniki there were fireworks before the game but not on the field. We want to do the opposite in Leverkusen…  The atmosphere in the stadium back then was amazing. I had problems communicating with M.Friedrich, we could hardly hear each other.  I hope that we can win our home game and that I can communicate this time properly with Manuel.”


After 2 games with the same line-up, we can expect 2-3 changes to the line-up.  Captain Rolfes and Sidney Sam (reward for the Schalke game) should make it back into the team.  Nicolai Jørgensen has added many minutes in the Europa League, maybe he gets also a chance from the beginning tomorrow.  In a home game against a defensive opponent Heynckes is likely to continue playing with two strikers.

Leverkusen (top) vs Aris (bottom)

The Line-up of Aris is courtesy of nick_3f from  He reports that the only important injury that the Greek team suffers at the moment is striker Daniel Cesarec and that their objective is to achieve a draw in Leverkusen. 

Here also his comment from the guestbook:
Hello Leverkusen fans! Aris fans are saying hello and we wish to watch a nice game tomorrow! Lets hope both Aris and Leverkusen will qualify!
3500 Aris fans are already in Germany and will yell a lot tomorrow! So be prepared for a lot of noise!

Our stadium attendance is expected to be low tomorrow around 20-22.000 as the game is early and on a weekday. 😦  So the 3500 Greek fans will definitely be heard in the stadium and on TV.

Let’s hope for a game with a goals and may the better team win!

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