Leverkusen lost 3-2 away at Atalanta in the first leg last week. Despite taking an early lead, the visitors soon found themselves 3-1 down. Moussa Diaby reduced the deficit just after the hour mark, but an equaliser was not to be.
The Bundesliga team have been knocked out at this stage of European competition in six of their last ten attempts. They have work to do to buck the trend this week.
Meanwhile, Atalanta comfortably brushed aside Olympiacos 5-1 on aggregate (winning 2-1 at home and 3-0 away) in the knockout playoffs. They will now look to build on a strong first leg display against Leverkusen as they seek to reach the quarter-finals.
The Bergamo outfit are one of the strongest teams left in the competition and are looking to pick up their first-ever European title.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta Head-to-Head
Last week’s game marked the first-ever meeting between Bayer Leverkusen and Atalanta. The game, however, saw Leverkusen continue their struggles against Italian opposition, as they have won just five times in 22 games.
Bayer Leverkusen Form Guide (all competitions): L-L-D-W-L.
Atalanta Form Guide (all competitions): D-W-L-W-W.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta Team News
Florian Wirtz has been ruled out of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Karim Bellarabi and Andrey Lunev are both injured as well and will miss the midweek game.
Robert Andrich, Patrik Schick, Jeremie Frimpong and Odilon Kossounou are recovering from injuries and are doubtful to start.
Injured: Andrey Lunev, Karim Bellarabi, Florian Wirtz.
Doubtful: Robert Andrich, Patrik Schick, Jeremie Frimpong and Odilon Kossounou.
Duvan Zapata is injured and will not play on Thursday. Josip Ilicic has been excluded from his side’s Europa League squad and will miss out as well.
Injured: Duvan Zapata, Aleksey Miranchuk.
Unavailable: Josip Ilicic.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta Predicted XI
Bayer Leverkusen (4-2-3-1): Lukas Hradecky (GK); Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba, Mitchel Bakker; Charles Aranguiz, Kerem Demirbay; Moussa Diaby, Amine Adli, Paulinho; Lucas Alario.
Atalanta (3-5-2): Juan Musso (GK); Rafael Toloi, Berat Djimsiti, Merih Demiral; Hans Hateboer, Marten de Roon, Teun Koopmeiners, Remo Freuler, Joakim Maehle; Ruslan Malinovskyi, Luis Muriel.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Atalanta Prediction
Bayer Leverkusen have won just once in their last five games across competitions. They have, however, lost just one of their last ten home games across all competitions and will fancy their chances of beating Atalanta.
The Serie A team have had their struggles this season but have lost just one of their last five games. They do not require a win on Thursday but should advance in the competition.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Atalanta.
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