Europa League: Bayer need great European night, BVB must battle complacency | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.03.2016
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Europa League: Bayer need great European night, BVB must battle complacency

Bayer Leverkusen and their under-pressure coach Roger Schmidt will seek solace from domestic pressures in the Europa League while Borussia Dortmund must guard against complacency as they travel to London to face Spurs.

Pep Guardiola's chase for a Champions League title might well be seen as defining Bayern Munich's season and the same could be said for Roger Schmidt and Leverkusen's Europa League campaign.

With their Bundesliga form faltering, Leverkusen's second leg against Villarreal is critical. The Europa League seemed to be the only competition where Leverkusen could find top gear but a tepid performance in Spain last week sees them two goals down and without an away goal going in to Thursday's match.

"We need to be efficient tomorrow. We will get chances, we just have to make sure we take them," said Schmidt in Wednesday's press conference.

If Leverkusen are to progress, they will have to do it without some of their big names. Ömer Toprak is injured and is joined on the sidelines by the suspended Tin Jedvaj. Worse for Leverkusen though is the news that Hakan Calhanoglu is a major doubt. "Hakan is sick. He didn't train today, but we hope he is ready tomorrow," said Schmidt.

One positive is that Lars Bender has returned to team training, although it would seem a risk to throw him into the action so quickly after his return. Christoph Kramer is also available.

Javier Hernandez, also speaking at the press conference, deflected questions on a potential move away from the club, saying: "In terms of my future, all I can say is it's against Villarreal tomorrow."

The Mexican, who has scored 14 in the Bundesliga but failed to find the net in the Europa League, said he is enjoying life in Germany's top flight. "I am honored to be a player in the Bundesliga but there is something extra special about European nights," said the 27-year-old.

Winning the tie could be ahuge turnign point in Bayer's season, which is quickly slipping away. If they can do it, Thursday will be one of the most memorable nights in the club's European history.

Dortmund must guard against complacency against weakened Tottenham

In total contrast, the task facing Borussia Dortmund couldn't be much easier. Dortmund take a sizable advantage to White Hart Lane after their 3-0 win in Germany and Thomas Tuchel's side will undoubtedly face another weakened Tottenham Hotspur team.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will have bigger tasks in mind, with his side continuing to pursue Leicester City in the English Premier League title race, but Tuchel is wary of the North London side's threat.

"We are going up against a very dangerous team that is strong offensively, so we need to put in a top performance," said Tuchel at a press conference on Wednesday, before adding that he would "field the strongest team possible" with only Ilkay Gündogan and Sven Bender missing through injury.

Indeed, Dortmund will be well aware that, following the commanding first-leg victory, they now stand among the favorites for the final in Basel and for the trophy itself.

"We know that we are clear favourites to make it through to the next round," added club captain Mats Hummels.

"We want to show that in the game, and preferably with a goal to quell any remaining doubt. And we know all about the quality that Tottenham have. Teams often play very differently at home than they do away."

Elsewhere in the competition tonight, the pick of the games is at Old Trafford, where Manchester United will attempt to overcome a 2-0 deficit against rivals Liverpool.

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