Leverkusen vs CSKA Moscow by Isaiah
Leverkusen won 3:1 over Hamburg with two late goals in a match where they were bad to the first half. Generally a very bad first half from both teams, but everything changed to the second half when Hamburg scored the first. The image of Leverkusen changed dramatically then, created many opportunities, pressed a lot, and managed to score three goals in the last 15 minutes of the game.
Not a lot changed for Leverkusen during summer. Robert Schmidt remained their coach while the core of the squad remained too. Defensive midfielder Julian Baumgartlinger, centre back Aleksandar Dragovic, striker Joel Pohjanpalo and striker Kevin Volland was their major signings. Tonight they think only of victory in case to qualify in a group with Monaco and Tottenham inside. Against Russian teams Leverkusen have 3/3 wins. Right winger Karim Bellarabi, striker Volland and midfielder Vladlen Yurchenko will all miss the game due to injuries. Key midfielder Charles Aranguiz is back in action.
CSKA easily won 3-0 against Terek Grozny to their new stadium, with Traore scoring two goals in the first half. They were serious enough defensively and very effective in attack. They got the title last season, kept coach Leonid Slutski, although he failed miserably with the national team of Russia in Euro 2016. Anyway, to the league they started well (4-2-0), showing a solid defense, they do have a major problem in attack, with just seven goals scored in six games, three of them against Terek.
They have a constant presence for ten years in Champions League, but they managed to qualify from the groups stage only twice. Notable fact that they did not kept the clean sheet for 22 matches from 2011, while to the last 12 away games they lost in 10. Only Aleksandrs Cauna will miss the game due to injury.
Leverkusen with Chicarito (7 goals in its last 7 games in the Champions League) and Pohjjanpalo (4 goals in 30' in the Bundesliga) will give everything for the victory in a must win game. CSKA traditionally fails in away European games, while their defense with Berezutski (35 years old) and Ignashevich (38 years old) is too big and slow. I expect Leverkusen to rule the game, create many chances for goals, and win much more corners than CSKA. Leverkusen in home CL games had 107 corners won and only 61 for their opponents, while CSKA in away CL games won only 51 corners and 101 their opponents.