UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen||BayArena - LeverkusenThursday 22 October 2020|
18.55CET (18.55 local time) Group C - Matchday 1
Last season's quarter-finalists Bayer Leverkusen kick off their 2020/21 UEFA Europa League campaign with a Group C fixture at home to Nice, their first in UEFA competition against the team from the south of France.
• Leverkusen's first home match with French opposition was a 1-0 victory against Toulouse in the second round of the 1987/88 UEFA Cup, a competition the German club went on to win. Their overall home record against teams from France is W5 D1 L3, the most recent encounter a 3-0 win against already-qualified Monaco on Matchday 6 of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League.
• Nice's first encounter in the UEFA Europa League group stage was at home to Schalke in 2016/17. They lost that game (0-1) and the return in Germany (0-2), making it three defeats and no goals from their three visits to the country.
• Fifth place in the 2019/20 Bundesliga earned Leverkusen a return to the UEFA Europa League, where they reached the quarter-finals last season after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group. They won both legs against Porto in the round of 32 (2-1 h, 3-1 a) and Rangers in the round of 16 (3-1 a, 1-0 h) before losing their quarter-final in nearby Düsseldorf 2-1 to Internazionale. They also reached the final of last season's DFB-Pokal, losing 4-2 to Bayern München.
• This is Leverkusen's sixth appearance in the UEFA Europa League proper and fourth in the group stage. They have never failed to progress to the knockout phase, topping the group in their most recent participation two seasons ago ahead of Ludogorets, Zürich and AEK Larnaca.
• The Werkself were undefeated in nine UEFA Europa League matches (W6 D3) until last season's quarter-final defeat by Inter. Their overall home record in the competition, play-offs included, is W11 D5 L2.
• After two years without European football, Nice qualified for a third appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage after finishing fifth in the truncated 2019/20 Ligue 1 campaign.
• Les Aiglons finished bottom of their group in 2016/17 but progressed as runners-up the following year in a section comprising Lazio, Vitesse and Zulte Waregem before going out to Lokomotiv Moskva (2-3 h, 0-1 a) in the round of 32.
• Nice have won two and lost four of their six away fixtures in the UEFA Europa League group stage. Their last three games on the road in the competition have all been 1-0 defeats.
Links and trivia
• Nice coach Patrick Vieira was in the Arsenal side that drew 1-1 at Leverkusen in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League second group stage then won the return fixture 4-1, in which he scored the Gunners' third goal. The German side nevertheless went on to contest the final.
• Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz was in charge of an Ajax side featuring Nice striker Kasper Dolberg in 2016/17. Leverkusen's Daley Sinkgraven was also an Ajax player throughout Dolberg's time in Amsterdam (2015–19).
• Nice skipper Dante played in Germany for Borussia Mönchengladbach (2009–12), Bayern München (2012–15) and Wolfsburg (2015/16). The Brazilian defender won three Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with Bayern. Leverkusen's Mitchell Weiser was his team-mate at the Munich club.
• Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby is a French youth and Under-21 international who joined the club from Paris Saint-Germain in 2019. Nice defender Stanley Nsoki is his former Paris team-mate.
• Leverkusen's fourth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage is a record for a German club.
• The Rhineland club are one of six former UEFA Cup winners in this season's UEFA Europa League group stage – along with PSV Eindhoven (Group E), Napoli (F), Tottenham (J), CSKA Moskva and Feyenoord (both K).