Bayer 04 Leverkusen have not given up hope of a place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 as they travel to Real Sociedad de Fútbol on matchday six.
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Bayer 04 Leverkusen have not given up hope of a place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 as they travel to Real Sociedad de Fútbol.
• After losing 5-0 at home to Manchester United FC last time out, Leverkusen start matchday six a point behind second-placed FC Shakhtar Donetsk yet would overtake the Ukrainian side by earning a better result in Spain than their rivals manage at Old Trafford in the other Group A fixture.
• Eliminated already, since beating Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 in the play-offs La Real have lost 2-0 to Shakhtar and drawn 0-0 with United, which means they are still seeking their first home goal and win in Group A.
• Leverkusen are visiting Spain for the first time since losing 7-1 at FC Barcelona in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League round of 16. It was their heaviest European defeat and completed a 10-2 aggregate reverse for Robin Dutt's side. Bernd Leno, Stefan Reinartz, Simon Rolfes, Lars Bender, Stefan Kiessling, Eren Derdiyok, Gonzalo Castro and Ömer Toprak all played that night.
• Leverkusen had faced another Liga team in Valencia CF in the 2011/12 group stage, earning a 2-1 home victory – with Sidney Sam scoring the winner – but losing 3-1 at Mestalla, where Kiessling scored.
• Derdiyok struck two goals in Spain in 2010/11, scoring in Leverkusen's 1-1 draw at Club Atlético de Madrid in the UEFA Europa League group stage and again in their 2-1 reverse at Villarreal CF in the round of 16.
• The Bundesliga side's overall record in Spain reads W2 D2 L9. Their last win was a 3-1 success at RC Deportivo La Coruña in the second group stage in 2001/02 – the season Leverkusen reached the UEFA Champions League final, losing 2-1 to Real Madrid CF.
• Leverkusen have not won outside Germany in the UEFA Champions League in their last 15 matches, qualifying included, since a 2-0 success at Maccabi Haifa FC in October 2002.
• This is La Real's first home meeting with Bundesliga opponents since 1988/89 when they faced two in successive UEFA Cup rounds. Miguel Loinaz earned a 1-0 home victory over 1. FC Köln which sent them on their way to a 3-2 aggregate success in the third round but the ensuing quarter-final against VfB Stuttgart ended in tears. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, they drew level in the return through a Jesús María Zamora goal but ended up losing 4-2 on penalties.
• The San Sebastian side drew 1-1 at home with Hamburger SV in the first leg of a 1982/83 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final tie that they eventually lost 3-2 on aggregate.
• Leverkusen's most famous European nights have come against Spanish sides. Besides their aforementioned UEFA Champions League final against Madrid, they also faced 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.
• As a player with Willem II, Liverpool FC and Leverkusen, Sami Hyypiä faced Spanish opponents 16 times, with a record of W4 D7 L5. His most significant victory was Liverpool's 5-4 triumph over Deportivo Alavés in the 2001 UEFA Cup final.
• Hyypiä made his last appearance in UEFA competition as a player in Leverkusen's 2-1 defeat at Villarreal 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 Atlético de Madrid in the group stage.
• Newly arrived at Leverkusen this summer, Andrés Palop spent 15 seasons in the Spanish Liga at Villarreal, Valencia and Sevilla FC. During that time he lost just one of ten league matches 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, one of 44 Liga appearances over two seasons in Spain.
• Derdiyok was a 71st-minute replacement for Haris Seferovic in Switzerland's 1-0 win over Slovenia on 15 October, a result that secured their qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
• 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 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 Under-21 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.