FC Krasnodar vs Bayer Leverkusen Europa League Predictions

Europa League FC Krasnador vs Bayer
FC Krasnodar vs Bayer Leverkusen Europa League

The match is over.
Score: 0-0.

FK Krasnodar host Bayer Leverkusen in their first competitive game since mid-December as the Europa League knockout rounds get underway.

Predictions

With the Russian Premier League on a mid-season hiatus and not resuming until early March, there’s every chance FK Krasnodar are rusty as Bundesliga Leverkusen travel to the banks of the Kuban river.

Krasnodar ended the first half of the domestic season in second place, a point behind Zenit Saint Petersburg and three points clear of CSKA Moscow. Their Europa League group stage campaign went fairly well too, Krasnodar matching Sevilla point-for-point, ending up level with 12 and only in second place through head-to-head goal difference.

Murad Musayev’s side have been playing friendlies, against the likes of Beijing Renhe, Basel and New England Revolution, but that’s not the same as the fire of the German top flight week-in, week-out. For what it’s worth, Krasnodar lost to Basel, drew with Beijing and won the next three games played.

Leverkusen, meanwhile, had a mid-season break just before Christmas but have been back in competitive action for almost a month. They’ve won three and lost two of the five games played since, including a thrashing of Mainz on Friday.

Peter Bosz, appointed in December, has his side in sixth place and a push for fourth isn’t out of the question as only five points separate Bayer and RB Leipzig. But while Leverkusen have scored almost as many goals as the incumbents, they’ve conceded almost double.

Defence then is Leverkusen’s weak spot and, worryingly for the Germans, attack is Krasnodar’s strong point, with 31 goals in 17 league games. Don’t be surprised if the various factors at play even each other out and the game ends in a 1-1 draw.

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Betting Tips

Leverkusen should be sharper but it’s no picnic going to Russia in February, and Krasnodar have goals in them, while Leverkusen struggle to keep clean sheets. On balance, it’s almost too close to call. It’s 14/5 that the first leg is drawn at Unibet.

Midfielder Kai Havertz has received plenty of plaudits for his performances in the last few seasons but this campaign has goals where previous years didn’t. The 19-year-old is his club’s joint-top scorer, and bookies might have undervalued him. He’s 11/5 to score anytime with 10Bet.

Statistics

Head to Head

Krasnodar and Bayer Leverkusen have never played each other.

Stats

  • Leverkusen have to travel 1,526 miles to get to Krasnodar, and three days later meet Fortuna Dusseldorf in the league.
  • To go with Leverkusen’s 37 goals in 21 Bundesliga games, they also racked up 16 in six Europa League group matches.
  • Krasnodar, meanwhile, scored eight and conceded eight in the group phase, but only two teams in the Russian Premier League have conceded fewer than their 13 – CSKA
  • Moscow and Rostov, with eight and 11 respectively.
  • There are 20 years between Musayev and Bosz, with the former only turning 35 in November and the latter reaching his mid-50s a few weeks later.
By:Sam Watt

Football manager is my life, but have taken up writing to help put all that knowledge playing the game to good use. Follow me for all things European football and gain unexpected knowledge about players and teams you didn't know before. When not playing football manager, I take a break to play with my Sunday League team.

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