SPORTING ALERT – Javier Chicharito Hernandez is among the starters for Bayer Leverkusen in today’s Group E Champions League battle at BATE Borisov.
Chicharito, a former Manchester United striker has been in top form since departing Old Trafford during the summer transfer window after scoring in seven straight games.
The 27-year-old is coming off a brace for Leverkusen against Eintracht Frankfurt in his club’s 3-1 victory in the Bundesliga over the weekend, and he will be hoping to extend that form in the Champions League.
Starting in support of Chicharito today are Hakan Calhanoglu and Admir Mehmedi, with Christoph Kramer, Kevin Kampl and Karim Bellarabi also supporting from midfield.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno will lead the charges at the back, with Giulio Donati, Jonathan Tah, Andre Ramalho and Borges Wendell making up the back four.
Meanwhile, BATE Borisov enter this game on good form as well after hammering Granit Mikashevichi 5-0 in their domestic outing.
Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb is among the starters today for the home side, which need to beat the visitors to stay in the hunt for a knockout spot.
Dmitri Mozolevski, who scored twice at the weekend and Mikhail Gordeychuk, who also netted at the weekend, will lead the attack for BATE Borisov, with Yevgeniy Yablonskiy and Aleksey Rios also in the starting XI.
Leverkusen is sitting third in Group E on four points behind Barcelona and Roma who tackle each other later today.
“This game is vital. I can’t say it’s the climax of the group, but the result will go a long way to deciding what happens,” Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt said during his press conference.
“At Bayer we look only at ourselves and we will stick to that philosophy. BATE deserved their victory against Roma.
“They were leading 3-0 at half-time and demonstrated their ability to produce interesting and diverse attacks. It was a result that made us change our attitude to BATE.”
BATE is last in the group with three points.
BATE Team: Chernik, Zhavnerchik, Milunović, Mladenović, Polyakov, Yablonski, A Volodko, Rios, Hleb, Mozolevski, Gordeichuk. SUBS: Soroko, Dubra, Karnitski, Aleksievich, Nikolić, M Volodko, Jevtić.
Leverkusen Team: Leno, Ramalho, Tah, Wendell, Donati, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Kramer, Bellarabi, Kampl, Chicharito Hernandez, Mehmedi. SUBS: Yelldell, Krešić, Boenisch, Brandt, Yurchenko, Frey, Ryu.