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Europa League: Sporting vs Bayer Leverkusen preview

Kick-off: Thursday, 18 February @20:05 GMT

Venue: Estadio Jose Alvalade (Lisboa)

Live Stream: fuboTV (US), bet365 (non-US)

Head to head record

Sporting vs Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 (1999/2000 Champions League)
Bayer Leverkusen vs Sporting 3-2 (1999/2000 Champions League)

Sporting vs Bayer Leverkusen prediction

Sporting Lisbon and Bayer Leverkusen face each other at Estadio Jose Alvalade in what is one of the most entertaining matches of Thursday’s program. The Portuguese team have been scoring goals for fun in the Europa League this season, but the hosts will have to be at their sharpest if they are to beat the Bundesliga outfit in the first leg.

Lions impressive under Jorge Jesus

Sporting Lisbon have been in Benfica’s and Porto’s shadow in recent years, but they are in a position to fight for the Primeira Liga trophy and no doubt Jorge Jesus helped the team improve their game. The Lions have been scoring goals for fun in all competitions this season and they are likely to stick to their attacking style of play in Thursday’s Europa League game against Bayer Leverkusen. Following a goalless draw with Rio Ave, Sporting recorded a splendid 4-0 win at Nacional at the weekend and their fresh confidence will be tested in the clash against the Bundesliga team. Islam Slimani is in the form of his life and the Algeria international, who scored a brace in the victory over Nacional, will be the man to watch in the home team. It has to be noted that Jorge Jesus’ men suffered their last defeat at home back on 17 September, 2015.

Coach Jorge Jesus has no fresh injury worries ahead of the match and he is unlikely to make too many changes to the team that faced Nacional. Teofilo Gutierez is pushing for a start.

A new chance for Bayer

Bayer Leverkusen failed to impress in the Champions League group stages, with the team recording no more than one win in the process. Anyhow, thanks to a 1-1 draw with Barcelona the Bundesliga outfit clinched their spot in the Europa League last 32 and they are ready for a new beginning. Roger Schmidt’s men head into Thursday’s game against Sporting Lisbon following a come-from-behind win over Darmstadt and they will be looking to build on the performance when they take on the Lions in Lisbon. Key attacker Javier Hernandez Chicharito remains in the recovery room and in his absence, Stefan Kiessling is going to lead the attack for the visitors. Anyhow, the visitors will have a big fish to fry in Thursday’s game as Sporting have been impressive in front of goal in the 2015/2016 Europa League campaign. Bayer played their last match in the Europa League three years ago, with the team suffering a loss to Sporting’s fiercest rivals Benfica in Lisbon.

Javier Hernandez, Lars Bender and Charles Aranguiz all missed the Darmstadt game with injury and the trio is unlikely to recover in time to face Sporting in the Europa League.

Quick Facts

  • Sporting are on a 14-match unbeaten run at home ground
  • Lions scored eight goals in previous two home fixtures in the Europa League
  • Over 2.5 goals were scored in Sporting’s last four matches in EL
  • Bayer Leverkusen are on a four-match unbeaten run on the road
  • Bayer were beaten by Metalist and Benfica in previous two away games in EL

Sporting vs Bayer Leverkusen betting tip

Sporting Lisbon are enjoying a season to remember. Jorge Jesus is doing a great job with the Estadio Jose Alvelade outfit and considering that the Lions are a real force to be reckoned with at home, there is a certain value in betting on the Portuguese outfit this time out. Bayer Leverkusen head into Thursday’s game with a severely-weakened squad and, taking everything into account, home win should be considered in this one. Sporting are eyeing their first ever win over Bayer.

Tip: Sporting draw no bet

Odds: 1.75 (3/4) @Pinnacle

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