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Leverkusen look to exorcise Spanish ghost

Bayer 04 Leverkusen will be looking to banish the memories of their last meeting with Spanish oppositon when they face Real Sociedad de Fútbol for the first time in Group A.

Simon Rolfes in action during Leverkusen's 7-1 defeat at Barcelona in March 2012
Simon Rolfes in action during Leverkusen's 7-1 defeat at Barcelona in March 2012 ©Getty Images

Real Sociedad de Fútbol will face German opposition for the first time in more than 24 years when Bayer 04 Leverkusen host Jagoba Arrasate's side on matchday two.

• Both teams will be eager to make amends for losing starts in Group A, with Leverkusen beaten 4-2 at Manchester United FC and La Real suffering a 2-0 home loss to FC Shakhtar Donetsk. Another defeat for either would leave them three points adrift at the foot of the table.

Match background
• Leverkusen will hope for a considerably better outcome than when they last faced Spanish opposition, suffering a 10-2 aggregate defeat by FC Barcelona in the 2011/12 round of 16. A Leverkusen side coached by Robin Dutt lost 3-1 at home before a 7-1 reverse at the Camp Nou.

• Earlier in 2011/12 Leverkusen had come from behind to beat Valencia CF 2-1 at home thanks to second-half goals by André Schürrle and Sidney Sam. Their overall home record against Spanish visitors is W5 D3 L5.

• Leverkusen's last home European fixture brought a 1-0 defeat by SL Benfica in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32. It was their only goal conceded at the BayArena in Europe last term, where they won two and drew one in the group stage.

• Leverkusen achieved a 100% home record in their last two group stage campaigns in the UEFA Champions League, in 2011/12 and 2004/05.

• La Real have already posted one impressive away result in Europe this season, winning 2-0 at Olympique Lyonnais in their play-off first leg in August.

• Leverkusen's most famous European nights have come against Spanish sides. They lost the 2002 UEFA Champions League final 2-1 against Real Madrid CF in Glasgow, but beat RCD Espanyol in a dramatic two-legged UEFA Cup final in 1988. After a 3-0 first-leg loss, Erich Ribbeck's Leverkusen won the return by the same score before prevailing 3-2 on penalties.

Team ties
• As a player with Willem II, Liverpool FC and Leverkusen, Hyypiä won only one of seven home fixtures against Spanish clubs – 1-0 against Barcelona in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup semi-final with a Liverpool side who went on to beat Deportivo Alavés 5-4 in the final.

• Hyypiä made his last appearance in UEFA competition as a player in Leverkusen's 2-1 defeat at Villarreal CF in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16, a result that sealed a 5-3 aggregate loss. Earlier that season he had featured in 1-1 home and away draws with Club Atlético de Madrid in the group stage.

• Hyypiä's overall record against Spanish opponents in 16 matches as a player was W4 D7 L5.

• Newly arrived at Leverkusen this summer, Andrés Palop spent 15 seasons in the Spanish Liga with spells at Villarreal, Valencia and Sevilla FC. During that time he lost just one of ten league matches played against La Real – 2-0 at  Anoeta in February 2012 when Rubén Pardo and Carlos Vela scored. Last season he was an unused substitute in Sevilla's home and away defeats by the San Sebastian team.

• Emir Spahić played in Sevilla's 2-1 reverse against La Real last December in one of 44 Liga appearances over two seasons in Spain.

• Esteban Granero's Getafe CF drew 1-1 at FC Bayern München in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup quarter-finals and appeared as a substitute twice in Real Madrid's 2011/12 UEFA Champions League semi-final defeat against the same opponents.

• Granero lined up against Sebastian Boenisch and Gonzalo Castro in Spain's 0-0 draw with Germany in the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship group stage.

• Eren Derdiyok and Haris Seferovic are team-mates with Switzerland.

• Derdiyok was a second-half substitute in Switzerland's 1-0 defeat against a Chile side including Claudio Bravo in the group stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

• Bernd Leno and substitute Emre Can played against Iñigo Martínez in Germany's 1-0 defeat by Spain in the 2013 UEFA European U21 Championship group stage. Martínez also faced Guilio Donati in Spain's 4-2 final win over Italy.

• Prior to the finals, Leno had helped Germany get the better of Seferovic in a 4-2 aggregate play-off win against Switzerland.

• Both teams have a Gonzalo Castro in their ranks, albeit La Real's goes by the name of Chori Castro. Leverkusen's Castro has dual German and Spanish citizenship.