Patrik Schick is set to make his comeback in the Europa League match at BK Häcken. Leverkusen manager Simon Rolfes does not rule out the possibility of the center forward starting
Minus 5 degrees and snowfall. What sounds like a romantic pre-Christmas season to the average consumer is more likely to be a buzzkill for most Bayer 04 professionals. The weather in Gothenburg, where the works club will face BK Häcken in the Europa League on Thursday, offers the league leaders’ players rather unloved and certainly unusual working conditions. On Wednesday evening, the pitch at the Ullevi Stadium had to be cleared of the wintry white. The snowfall is expected to continue until midnight.
Xabi Alonso’s team will therefore have to show a high degree of mentality on Thursday. Even though the Bundesliga side go into the game against the Swedish champions with no points after four wins from four games, they will be heavy favorites
A point is enough for Bayer 04 to secure a direct place in the round of 16 after advancing to the knockout round. “The goal is very clear: to finish first and win,” emphasized managing director Simon Rolfes, “that’s the clear direction. That’s how we’re going to line up and that’s how I expect the players to take to the pitch. “
Despite a clear direction: A test for the second row
After the 4:0 at home against Sweden, the biggest test for the Werkself players will probably be to show the right attitude. However, the many players from the second tier who will be given a test in the starting eleven by Xabi Alonso at Gothenburg’s Ullevi Stadium will have to make sure of that.
One of them could be Patrik Schick, who would make his comeback to the starting eleven after a long absence. The Czech international striker had recently been paralyzed by a torn calf muscle. Prior to that, the 27-year-old had been plagued by adductor problems for around a year. Only an operation in the summer brought relief
Schick “one step further “
After Xabi Alonso left Schick out of Saturday’s match in Bremen (3:0) to give him another full week of training, the goalscorer is “one step further”, as Rolfes explains. Is the left-footer ready for action and already a candidate to start?
“That’s a question that Xabi will have to answer in the end,” said Rolfes, “but Patrik is doing well in training. He’s definitely on the right track. “
The final step back onto the pitch will now take place in inhospitable conditions. But these will not be able to spoil the mood of Schick, who was clearly in a good mood at the final training session in Leverkusen. His desire to simply be able to play soccer again without pain is so great that a few sub-zero temperatures and a little snowfall will not dampen his anticipation.