Leverkusen aim to keep the pace

After securing their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday, Bayer Leverkusen return to Bundesliga action on Sunday.

Gonzalo Castro Bayer Leverkusen

They host Eintracht Frankfurt for their penultimate encounter of the calendar year and a win in their final home game would certainly bring a smile to coach Sami Hyypia's face.

"I'll be delighted if we get three points against Frankfurt," said the Finn, who has already led the club to their best ever haul of points after 15 games of a season.

Their record at the midway stage of a season is 39 from 2001/02, when they only narrowly missed out on the title to Borussia Dortmund. They can exceed that with victory at the BayArena on Sunday.

"I don't care too much about records because they you can't really get anything for them," added Hyypia, who is perhaps more concerned with who his side will end up with in Monday's Champions League draw.

Emre Can and Robbie Kruse have both recovered from knocks they picked up against Real Sociedad and are therefore both fit to play, although Hyypia has made a habit of rotating his side after Champions League games and changes can therefore be expected.

Frankfurt also had European joy to celebrate on Thursday, and their attention will also be turned to Nyon on Monday, albeit two hours later than Leverkusen when the draw for the last 32 and last 16 of the Europa League are made.

A 2-0 win over APOEL Nicosia sealed top spot in their Europa League group and gave them a much-needed confidence boost going into Sunday's game.

"You never go into any game without a chance, and the win yesterday has done us good," said coach Armin Veh at a press conference on Friday.

"Now, nobody really expects anything from us. We'll go into the game aware of that and hope to get a stroke of luck."

Veh should have Sebastian Rode and Bastian Oczipka back in his side, although he was pleased with what he saw from a largely reserve team on Thursday night, and said he is considering starting "one or two" of the fresh faces on Sunday.



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