Bayer Leverkusen vs Rosenborg Preview
Bayer Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes has a headache about Michael Ballack's injury for his preparations against Rosenborg.The pair played together in a 4-0 friendly win over Schalke during the international break with Rolfes taking his first steps back from a knee cartilage injury which had sidelined him for the last seven months.
However, Heynckes says that Rolfes is not yet ready to fill the boots of Ballack, who has been ruled out for the next six weeks with a shin injury.
"Simon is almost ready, but the Rosenborg game and Sunday (in the Bundesliga) are too early for him," Heynckes told the Express newspaper.
Instead, Sebastian Reinartz will move forwards from the centre of the defence and he is looking forward to tomorrow's debut Europe's second-tier competition.
"There are so many illustrious names in this Europa League," he said. "We have to play Atletico Madrid (in the group), but I was surprised by how many other top teams are in the competition.
"Teams like Liverpool, Juventus, Porto, Manchester City, Besiktas and all the others - this is all top-drawer."
But even tomorrow's opponents Rosenborg are not to be under-estimated.
"I remember a game in 1999 when they won 3-0 in the Champions League in Dortmund," he told www.bayer04.de.
"That impressed me back then. I don't know their current team too well, but they have been in the Champions League often recently and that says it all, really."
However, only one result will do tomorrow for Reinartz, who expects Leverkusen to come through the group phase at least this season.
"We certainly have the potential to survive this group and our aim is to get through to the knockout stage," he said.
"I want a win, without conceding."
Rosenborg are Norway's record league and cup winners, although they were unable to show their superiority at the weekend when they could only draw 1-1 with Viking Stavanger.
Former Tottenham striker Steffen Iversen will lead the Rosenborg attack alongside Rade Prica, who is no stranger to the Bundesliga having played for Hansa Rostock between 2002 and 2006.