Union SG and Bayer Leverkusen will be fighting tooth and nail for a place in the Europa League semi-finals when they meet each other on Thursday evening. The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg in Germany last week, with Florian Wirtz salvaging a draw for the hosts eight minutes from the end of normal time.
Union SG will be forced to replace Siebe Van der Heyden after the defender received his third booking in this season’s Europa League against Leverkusen last week, with Koki Machida likely to come into the hosts’ back three.
Geraerts may also be tempted to throw Simon Adingra into his starting XI after surprisingly leaving the Brighton loanee on the bench for the entirety of last week’s 1-1 draw, with Yorbe Vertessen potentially making way.
Leverkusen, meanwhile, will travel without Patrik Schick, Exequiel Palacios, Andrey Lunev and Charles Aranguiz due to injury, with Alonso likely to make a few changes from the side that played out a goalless draw in Wolfsburg.
Wirtz will almost certainly replace Sardar Azmoun in attack, with Amine Adli also expected to come into the visitors’ starting XI at the expense of Adam Hlozek from the left flank.
Robert Andrich will move into his usual central midfield role after anchoring a back three on Sunday, with Jonathan Tah taking up that role after receiving a rare rest against Niko Kovac’s side.
Union SG possible starting lineup:
Moris; Kandouss, Burgess, Machida; Niewkoop, Amani, Lynen, Teuma, Lapoussin; Adingra, Boniface
Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba; Frimpong, Andrich, Demirbay, Hincapie; Diaby, Wirtz, Adli
Prediction: Union SG 1-3 Bayer Leverkusen (Bayer Leverkusen to win 4-2 on aggregate)
Union SG have provided themselves with an excellent chance of continuing their fairytale adventure in the Europa League this season by drawing away from home in the first leg, but we can envisage it coming to an end on Thursday.
Leverkusen’s form has been increasingly impressive under the tutelage of Alonso, and we expect them to seize the moment and keep their hopes of competing in the Champions League next season well and truly alive.