FC Metalist Kharkiv will look to break down the best defence in the UEFA Europa League when Bayer 04 Leverkusen head east for a battle of the top two in Group K.
• The sides are level at the top of the section with ten points and have both qualified for the round of 32. While Leverkusen have a better goal difference, head-to-head record would be the first consideration in the event that the sides finish level on points.
• Two exceptional saves from Metalist's Olexandr Goryainov ensured that the teams drew 0-0 when they met at the BayArena on matchday one, but Metalist are yet to score in three games against the German club.
• Jupp Heynckes' Leverkusen eliminated Metalist – coached then as now by Myron Markevich - from the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 32, winning 4-0 in Ukraine and 2-0 in Germany. Both results were landmarks for the Ukrainian side – their heaviest European home defeat and their equal worst result on their travels in UEFA competiton.
• The teams for that first meeting in Kharkiv on 17 February 2011 were:
Metalist: Dišljenković*, Villagra*, Valyayev, Cleiton Xavier*, Oliynyk, Fininho*, Pshenychnykh* (Berezovchuk 15), Cristaldo* (Lysenko* 68), Obradović*, Blanco*, Taison*.
Leverkusen: Adler, Reinartz*, Friedrich*, Bender*, Renato Augusto* (Rolfes* 74), Balitsch (Castro* 46), Vida, Sam*, Derdiyok (Kiessling* 79), Vidal, Kadlec*.
• Current Leverkusen team manager Sami Hyypiä was an unused substitute in this match.
• The teams for the return fixture on 24 February 2011 were:
Leverkusen: Adler, Schwaab*, Friedrich*, Rolfes* (Da Costa 64), Bender* (Vidal 46), Renato Augusto* (Kampl 64), Kiessling*, Ballack, Vida, Castro*, Jørgensen.
Metalist: Dišljenković*, Romanchuk, Shelayev*, Cleiton Xavier* (Vorobey 76), Oliynyk, Fininho*, Obradović*, Blanco*, Papa Gueye*, Dević (Cristaldo* 57), Taison* (Valyayev 57).
* registered to play for the club in 2012/13.
• In total, Leverkusen have played nine games against Ukrainian sides, with the record W5 D2 L2 (W3 D2 L0 at home – W2 D0 L2 away). Prior to matchday one, they had won their most recent five games against Ukrainian teams.
• Metalist's only experience of German opposition aside from games against Leverkusen came in the 2008/09 UEFA Cup group stage, where they drew 0-0 at home against Hertha BSC Berlin.
• Metalist have won all three of their home games in Europe this season, with Taison's astonishing volley in a 3-1 win against Rosenborg BK on matchday four already a contender for goal of the season. "It was the goal of the year, maybe," said Rosenborg midfielder Bořek Dočkal. "Goal of the century, I don't know. It was so amazing!"
• Leverkusen have scored five goals in their two Group K away games to date.
• Leverkusen have the best defensive record in any UEFA club competition this season, having yet to concede after four games.
• Metalist come into their own as the full-time whistle approaches – six of their seven group stage goals have been scored after the 60-minute mark, with four coming in the final ten minutes.
• Metalist captain Milan Obradović briefly played in Germany with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2003, while José Ernesto Sosa was at FC Bayern München from 2007-10.
• Metalist coach Markevich is a keen student of the game – he has made trips to study Fabio Capello, Christoph Daum and Carlo Ancelotti – and is also an able pianist. Having been in charge of Metalist since 2005, he was named Ukraine coach on his 59th birthday in February 2010 but stepped down that August to focus solely on his club duties.
• Team manager Hyypiä leads Leverkusen in collaboration with coach Sascha Lewandowski. Former Finland defender Hyypiä won the 2000/01 UEFA Cup and the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League during a ten-year spell at Liverpool FC, moving on to Leverkusen in 2009. After retiring in 2011, Hyypiä took up coaching roles with Leverkusen and Finland, and stepped in – initially on a caretaker basis – after the Werkself sacked Robin Dutt in April 2012.
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