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Oct 21, 2021 at 5.45pm UK
Real BetisReal Betis
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
Iglesias (75' pen.)
Miranda (10'), Pezzella (71')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Andrich (82')
Alario (50'), Tapsoba (62'), Hincapie (71'), Diaby (86')

Preview: Real Betis vs. Bayer Leverkusen - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Real Betis vs. Bayer Leverkusen - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen will both be looking to maintain their 100% start in Group G when they lock horns in the Europa League at the Benito Villamarin on Thursday night.

The hosts have lost only once on home soil so far this campaign, to Real Madrid, while the visitors have yet to suffer defeat on their travels, scoring 19 goals in the process.

Match preview

Real Betis bounced back from their 1-0 defeat against Villarreal before the international break, with a slender victory by the same scoreline away against Alaves on Monday night.

Manuel Pellegrini had to rely on two of his substitutes to break the deadlock, when 40-year-old winger Joaquin cut the ball back from the byline to striker Borja Iglesias, who tapped in a dramatic 89th-minute winner from close range to seal their fourth league victory of the campaign.

The Green and Whites have now won six of their last eight games across all competitions, including their first two matches in the Europa League, winning 4-3 against Celtic in a thrilling encounter on home soil, before securing a 3-1 triumph away against Ferencvaros.

Betis have never locked horns with Bayer Leverkusen in a competitive fixture and last faced German opposition back in the 1995-96 season, when they were beaten by 1. FC Kaiserslautern both home and away in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup.

Los Verdiblancos have only progressed beyond the Europa League group stages once before in their history, reaching the last 16 in 2013-14, and a victory on Thursday would provide a huge boost at the halfway point in their quest to advance from Group G.

After cruising to successive 4-0 away victories against Celtic and Arminia Bielefeld before the international break, Bayer Leverkusen were then brought back down to earth when they were thrashed 5-1 at home against perennial Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on Sunday.

First-half fireworks from Bayern saw all five of their goals scored within the first 37 minutes. Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry scored two goals each either side of a Thomas Muller strike, to ensure the German giants eased to a thumping victory at the BayArena.

Gerardo Seoane suffered his heaviest defeat since taking charge of Leverkusen this summer and is now tasked with lifting the spirits in the dressing room ahead of a busy fixture schedule across all competitions.

The Eternal Bridesmaids travel to the Benito Villamarin after winning only three of their 19 away matches against Spanish opposition in European competition, losing 13 games in the process.

Leverkusen can, however, take some confidence into their clash with Betis, as they have won 11 of their last 15 Europa League matches, scoring an impressive 40 goals at an average of 2.7 per game.

Real Betis Europa League form:
  • W
  • W

Real Betis form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Bayer Leverkusen Europa League form:
  • W
  • W

Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Real Betis will still be without Senegalese right-back Youssouf Sabaly due to a hamstring injury, while centre-back Victor Ruiz – who has missed the last five matches with a muscle problem – is a doubt for Thursday's game.

Either German Pezzella or Marc Bartra is expected to start alongside Edgar Gonzalez at the heart of the defence, with Hector Bellerin and Alberto Moreno set to continue as the full-backs.

After impressing as substitutes on Monday, Joaquin and Iglesias could be handed starts at the expense of Rodri and Willian Jose, while Nabil Fekir and Sergio Canales, who both featured in the first XI for the last match, could join them in attack.

As for Leverkusen, Charles Aranguiz (calf), Julian Baumgartlinger (knee) and Timothy Fosu-Mensah (knee) remain out with injuries, while Exequiel Palacios is ruled out due to illness.

Robert Andrich was suspended for the defeat against Bayern Munich but is available to play on Thursday and could come into the midfield ahead of either Nadiem Amiri or Kerem Demirbay.

Teenage starlet Florian Wirtz, who has scored in both of his opening two group stage matches, is expected to start in the number 10 role in behind lone striker Patrik Schick, with support on the flanks set to be provided by Moussa Diaby and Paulinho.

Real Betis possible starting lineup:
Silva; Bellerin, Bartra, Gonzalez, Moreno; Guardado, Carvalho; Joaquin, Fekir, Canales; Iglesias

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Frimpong, Kossounou, Tah, Bakker; Andrich, Demirbay; Diaby, Wirtz, Paulinho; Schick

We say: Real Betis 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen

An entertaining encounter, with plenty of goalmouth action, is to be expected between two of the Europa League's strongest sides at the Benito Villamarin.

Both teams will fancy their chances of claiming all three points; however, we feel that they may be forced to share the spoils on this occasion.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:curl

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12FC Koln123631821-315
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17Arminia Bielefeld12165918-99
18Greuther Furth120111833-251
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