Having made it three wins out of three in Group A, leaders Zürich will look to keep their run going at Bayer Leverkusen.
Article top media content
The top two teams in UEFA Europa League Group A meet again at the BayArena two weeks after FC Zürich defeated Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 in Switzerland to maintain their perfect start with a third successive victory.
• A fourth win would ensure FCZ's qualification for the round of 32 as group winners, whereas a victory for Leverkusen would enable both teams to progress with two games to spare should the other Group A game between Ludogorets and AEK end in a draw.
• Before coming from 2-1 down to beat Leverkusen, the Swiss club posted two 1-0 wins – away to AEK Larnaca and at home to Ludogorets. The German club also claimed maximum points from their first two matches, 3-2 in Bulgaria and 4-2 at home to AEK.
• There had been one previous meeting of the clubs prior to matchday three, 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 had never beaten a Bundesliga club until the win on 25 October. Although they had previously 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 were undefeated in three previous matches against Swiss opposition before that 3-2 loss on matchday three, their only other tie a 3-1 aggregate win over Sion in the first round of the 2006/07 UEFA Cup.
• 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 drawn five of their last eight European home games (W2 L1), the defeat coming against Atlético Madrid (2-4) in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League round of 16. They are unbeaten at home in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W5 D2), conceding just three goals in the seven games, two of those to AEK on matchday two.
• 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 ended a run of seven winless European away fixtures (D2 L5) with their matchday one success in Cyprus (1-0). That is one of just two wins in FCZ’s last 17 European away games (D4 L11) and the only one on their travels in ten UEFA Europa League group stage encounters.
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.
• Zürich are one of six clubs with maximum points from the opening three UEFA Europa League fixtures, the others being Salzburg (Group B), Dinamo Zagreb (D), Arsenal (E), Eintracht Frankfurt (H) and Chelsea (L).
• 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.
• 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.