Zürich v Leverkusen background

Zürich and Bayer Leverkusen have both won their first two Group A games, so something has to give on matchday three.

Victor Pálsson celebrates scoring Zürich's matchday two opener
Victor Pálsson celebrates scoring Zürich's matchday two opener ©AFP/Getty Images

Something has to give as the top two clubs in UEFA Europa League Group A meet at the Stadion Letzigrund with six points apiece from their opening two matches.

• FC Zürich have yet to concede, winning 1-0 twice – away to AEK Larnaca and at home to Ludogorets – whereas Bayer Leverkusen are the group stage's joint highest scorers alongside Arsenal with seven goals, having won 3-2 in Bulgaria and beaten AEK 4-2 at home on matchday two.

Previous meetings
• There has been one previous meeting, Leverkusen winning 5-0 in Zurich in the final group game of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup . That remains the German club's joint biggest margin of victory in European competition as well as the Swiss side's heaviest home defeat.

• FCZ have never beaten a Bundesliga club. Although they have recorded two wins in 15 encounters with German opposition, both were against teams from the East German Oberliga – at home to Dynamo Dresden and Berliner FC Dynamo.

• Leverkusen, meanwhile, are undefeated in three matches against Swiss opposition, their only other tie a 3-1 aggregate win over Sion in the first round of the 2006/07 UEFA Cup.

Highlights: Zürich make it two wins from two
Highlights: Zürich make it two wins from two

Form guide
Zürich
• Zürich ensured a return to Europe after a year's absence by winning the Swiss Cup for the third time in five years – and tenth time in all – as they denied champions Young Boys the double with a 2-1 win in the Berne final.

• FCZ are in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the fourth time and have yet to progress to the knockout phase. They did, however, reach the round of 32 on their sole UEFA Cup group stage participation, despite that heavy home defeat to Leverkusen, in 2007/08.

• The Swiss club are unbeaten in their last nine home group games in the UEFA Europa League (W5 D4). Their only defeat on Swiss soil in the competition proper came in their first such fixture, 0-2 against Sporting CP on matchday one of the 2011/12 season.

Leverkusen
• Leverkusen booked direct access to the UEFA Europa League group stage by finishing fifth in last season's Bundesliga.

• This is the Rhinelanders' third UEFA Europa League group stage participation, the previous two, in 2010/11 and 2012/13, having both extended into the knockout phase, where they also competed in 2015/16 after transferring over from the UEFA Champions League. The club's two UEFA Cup group stage campaigns, in 2006/07 and 2007/08, were also successful, both ending in the quarter-finals.

• The Werkself have lost only one of their last eight European away games (W3 D4), though the three goals they registered on matchday one at Ludogorets equalled the total number they had struck in the five previous such encounters combined.

Highlights: Leverkusen 4-2 AEK Larnaca
Highlights: Leverkusen 4-2 AEK Larnaca

Links and trivia
• Leverkusen defender Aleksandar Dragović was at Basel between 2011 and 2014, winning three Swiss Super League titles. He faced Zürich ten times, claiming a record of W6 D2 L2 and assisting three goals.

• A record 17 German clubs have participated in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. With four participations, Leverkusen are now the Bundesliga's most frequent representative.

• Leverkusen's Kai Havertz is the 2018/19 UEFA Europa League's joint top scorer with three goals – level with Salzburg's Munas Dabbur and Dinamo Zagreb's Izet Hajrović. Havertz has also had more attempts on target in the opening two matches – six – than any other player.

The coaches
• A Swiss international left-back from 2000 to 2010 who won 62 caps for his country and appeared at four successive major tournaments, Ludovic Magnin spent most of that time in Germany with Werder Bremen and Stuttgart, winning the Bundesliga with both, before ending his career back in his homeland with Zürich. It was with FCZ's youth teams that he made his first steps as a coach before graduating to the top job in February 2018 and steering the club to Swiss Cup glory three months later.

• A former German international striker, Heiko Herrlich began his professional playing career at Leverkusen, with whom he won the German Cup, before going on to star for Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund, winning the UEFA Champions League with the latter in 1997. He took over as Leverkusen coach in June 2017 following spells with German youth selections and in lower-league football and led the Rhinelanders to a fifth-place Bundesliga finish in his debut campaign.

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