Bayer Leverkusen vs Aris Preview
Bayer Leverkusen defender Stefan Reinartz has called on his team to produce fireworks on the pitch against Aris Salonika.The Germans were held to a turgid goalless draw in Greece two weeks ago, which left Bayer a point clear of their opponents in pole position in Group B.
Victory at the BayArena on Thursday would put Jupp Heynckes' side within touching distance of the next round, and Reinartz wants a better attacking display than they offered in the reverse fixture.
"In Salonika there were fireworks before the game but not on the pitch," he said, referring to the atmosphere at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium.
"In Leverkusen, we want to do it the other way around."
Heynckes has called on his team to take the game to the Greeks, who have lost their only away match in the group so far, 2-1 at Rosenborg.
"We have to play with tempo, get the ball out wide and pressure our opponents into making mistakes," he said.
Bayer have been boosted by the return to training of winger Renato Augusto, who returned from Brazil at the weekend where he had been recovering from a knee injury, and Gonzalo Castro, who is back after a hamstring problem. Tomorrow's game is likely to come too early for both, though.
Midfielder Michael Ballack, striker Stefan Kiessling and defender Sami Hyypia remain long-term injury victims.
Aris ended a two-game losing run in the Super League with a 2-0 win over Atromitos last time out.
They have scored just two goals in four away league games so far this term, and a mere five in eight in total. Indeed they have failed to score in three of their last four matches in all competitions, suggesting the Bayer backline is unlikely to be in for an especially busy night.
Leverkusen are themselves, though, without a win in their last two home games, a run which has left them seven points adrift of Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.