One of the really big match ups on Thursday night in the Europa League will see Portugese League leaders Sporting take on an inform Bayer Leverkusen who just held Bayern Munich to a 0-0 draw in the Bay Arena. After Porto's win at the weekend over Benfica, Sporting took full advantage and have taken a three point lead at the top of the Portugese league. With a strong squad and a knowledgeable manager this is a team that will look to go all the way domestically and could well be looking to add some European silverware with a Europa League.Slimani has scored eighteen league goals and has been Sporting's best attacker this year, ably assisted by the strong work ethic of sought after midfielder Carvalho and the attacking talents of Silva. Sporting have lost just one of their last forty home games.
Bayer Leverkusen come into this game unbeaten in their last six league games and were a little unlucky to go out of the Champions League , their loss in Rome the undoing of an otherwise decent effort in Europe's main competition. Leverkusen are a team built around the attacking talents and finishing of Javier Hernandez, the former Manchester United man has thirteen goals in eighteen games, his best return of any domestic season since leaving Guadalajara in 2010. Hernandez is a poacher and will find the space to finish and more often than not be in the right place at the right time, Hernandez did not always get a fair crack of the whip at United and Louis Van Gaal probably regrets letting Chicarito leave given the season he is having right now.
This is a game between two really good and well matched sides. I'm going to sit back and enjoy this one, I will be having two nibbles on this game. Firstly I am going big on both teams to score here as I think the offences on show are likely to find the net, secondly going to take a small position on the draw as both of these teams could well cancel each other out.