Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Valencia CF Match Preview

Bayer Leverkusen vs Valencia CF
Stadium: BayArena
19 October 2011 20:45CET
3rd fixture champions league
Expected attendance: 30.000
Coaches: Robit Dutt and Unai Emery

The third fixtures of the Champions League are upon us and on the second day Bayer Leverkusen will welcome Valencia CF at the BayArena for a footballing spectacle, well okay maybe not quite, but this is going to be a very interesting match nonetheless as this is likely going to be the deciding match of who stays in the champions league and who goes to the Europa League.

This is a must win match for both clubs and a loss here will probably mean going down to the Europa League or worse yet maybe even finishing last in the group. A draw will not serve both clubs and will just extend the lock down in the group for one more fixture. So expect both team to go in it to win it.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen is a recent success story in German football, something similar to Villarreal in Spanish football. After a near disaster in 1996 when the club faced a relegation battle, Bayer Leverkusen established itself as a powerful side, offering a technically pleasing offensive style of play under new coach Christoph Daum, who was also helped by the signing of players such as Lúcio, Emerson, Zé Roberto, and Michael Ballack. Daum was later to be famously fired for a cocaine scandal that also cost him his ascent to the role of the national team coach.

With such players the club went on to a consecutive top 4 finishes in the Bundesliga and even challenged Bayern Munich and Borusia Dortmund back then for the title. Of course Bayern Munich strategy was and still is to purchase the best players in the Bundesliga from other clubs and that's what they did, taking Ballack and Ze Roberto from Bayer Leverkusen and had a terrible season, only for the team to bounce back next season and finish third place. From 2005 up to last year the team was kind of in the background of other teams and not really able to mount any sort of offensive towards the top.

Things changed last season when they finished second to Borusia Dortmund with the help of players like Arturo Vidal and the returning Michael Ballack in 2010/11. 

This season though with their best player Arturo Vidal gone they are not doing quite so good and are currently in 8th position on the table with 14 points. So far their biggest problem seems to be their defense that has been leaking goals and this is of course chance for Valencia to get away with the victory even with our weaker attack in recent weeks.

Bayer Leverkusen squad: to be announced...

Valencia CF on the other hand has had quite the miserable week with a draw against Mallorca. But what is more worrisome than the result itself which was only achieved by Mallorca through a late controversial penalty is the way Valencia CF played. The team lacked cohesion, teamwork, vision and drive. It was like they were just random people put on a field together and run like headless chickens all over the pitch. The only good news is that our defense is still solid(hit in wood 3 times) and I'm expecting us to ride on its back for tonight's match. Maybe the team will surprise me and come out really strong and powerful, we also have Banega returning so that is good news, but somehow I'm loosing confidence that we can win this match.

Unai Emery has taken all the players with him for the trip to Bayer Leverkusen. The only player who is going to stay behind in Maduro who's season is almost over. He will be out for at least four months and that means the earliest he can hope to play is March when he is to regain some fitness.

Valencia CF squad:
Goalkeepers: Guaita, Diego Alves, Cristiano.
Defenders: Miguel, Barragán, Bruno, Víctor Ruiz, Ricardo Costa, Rami, Dealbert, Mathieu, Jordi Alba.
Midfielders: Albelda, Topal, Éver, Parejo, Tino Costa, Feghouli, Pablo, Piatti, Canales.
Forwards: Jonas, Aduriz and Soldado.

Technical details Bayer Leverkusen (probable setups):
Formation: 4-4-2
Line-up: Leno; Kadlec, Reinartz, Castro, Schwaab; Sam, Ballack, Balitsch, Bender; Keibling, Derdiyok.
Tactics: ?

Technical details Valencia CF (probable setups):
Formation: 4-2-3-1
Line-up: Diego; Miguel, Rami, Ruiz, Mathieu; Banega, Topal; Pablo, Canales, Feghuoli; Soldado.
Tactics: ?

Result prediction:
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1-1 Valencia CF
Bayer are decent in attack and they are likely to cause us problems at the back, but their defense has so far in the season been quite poor and so this is shaping up to be a draw with Valencia CF attack too weak to fully exploit Bayer defensive weakness and Valencia CF defense being too good for Bayer attack to manage to score more than one goal.