UEFA Europa League - 2020/21 SeasonMatch press kits
|SK Slavia Praha||Eden Arena - PragueThursday 29 October 2020|
21.00CET (21.00 local time) Group C - Matchday 2
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
Slavia Praha take on a buoyant Bayer Leverkusen in the Czech capital as they look to register their first points in UEFA Europa League Group C.
• Two late goals conceded to Hapoel Beer-Sheva in Israel on Matchday 1 left Slavia licking the wounds of an opening 3-1 defeat, but it was all smiles for Leverkusen as they hit Nice for six at the BayArena. The 6-2 win for last season's quarter-finalists, which featured a Karim Bellarabi double, equalled the record for the most goals scored in a UEFA Europa League group fixture.
• Slavia have never previously faced Leverkusen in UEFA competition but this is their 15th match against a German club. Their overall record in the previous 14 is W3 D3 L8, with defeats in all of the last five including two in last season's UEFA Champions League group stage against Borussia Dortmund (0-2 h, 1-2 a). Slavia have managed just six goals in those 14 games and have failed to score in their last three home matches against German visitors.
• Leverkusen's one defeat in their seven encounters with Czech clubs came on their last visit to the country – a 2-1 loss at Baník Ostrava in the second leg of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round that was of little consequence given their 5-0 first-leg win in Germany. The Werkself's record in the Czech Republic is W1 D1 L1.
• Champions of the Czech Republic for the third time in four years last season, Slavia missed out on a second successive UEFA Champions League group stage adventure this term when they were defeated by Midtjylland in the play-offs (0-0 h, 1-4 a).
• Fourth in their UEFA Champions League section last season, behind Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter, Slavia are competing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fourth time. They failed to make further progress in 2009/10 and 2017/18 but went all the way to the quarter-finals on their last appearance, in 2018/19, despite scoring just four goals in the group stage. A dramatic 4-3 extra-time home win against competition specialists Sevilla in the round of 16, after a 2-2 first-leg draw in Spain, provided an unforgettable highlight.
• Slavia have lost four of their last six European home games, winning only one. They did not concede a goal in Prague during the 2018/19 group stage but their overall home record in the competition proper is W4 D4 L4.
• 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. They have lost only three of their last 13 European away fixtures (W6 D4), winning the last three, all by two-goal margins.
Links and trivia
• Leverkusen's Prague-born forward Patrik Schick has scored nine goals in 22 appearances for the Czech Republic and is a national team-mate of several Slavia players. He began his career with Slavia's main rivals Sparta Praha and also spent 2015/16 on loan with Bohemians 1905, playing in two league draws against Slavia (2-2 a, 0-0 h).
• Leverkusen's fourth appearance in the UEFA Europa League group stage is a record for a German club. They are also now the highest-scoring Bundesliga club in the competition, on 64 goals, overtaking Eintracht Frankfurt with the fifth of their six against Nice.
• 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).