Two squads looking to take control of their Champions League group will battle Wednesday as Bayer Leverkusen take on Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar enter the match tied with Manchester United on top of Group A in the UCL group stage. The Ukrainian squad earned a draw against the defending Premier League champs after defeating Real Sociedad in the first match.
Meanwhile, Leverkusen also have a win over Real Sociedad and remain in solid shape, with three points in two matches.
A win for either squad would facilitate the push toward advancing to the knockout stage, which should make the upcoming match an exciting one to watch.
Who will win?
When: Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 2:45 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. BST
Where: BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany
Watch: Fox Soccer Plus (On repeat on Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. ET)
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2 Go
Odds (via Sky Bet): Bayer Leverkusen (4-5), Shakhtar Donetsk (3-1), Draw (14-5)
Top Storyline: Can Bayer Carry Bundesliga Success Into Champions League?
Last season, a pair of German clubs dominated Europe competition. Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund in the UCL final after the pair knocked out Real Madrid and Barcelona in the semifinals, sending a message to the rest of the world.
Amazingly, there might be a third team from the Bundesliga to contend for a European title.
Bayer Leverkusen have almost matched the success of the two top clubs to start the year, currently standing in third place in the league table but just one point behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Unfortunately, that success has not carried over into the continental competition. It is important for the squad to keep up the momentum from its recent league success and bring it into UCL play.
Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 2, Shakhtar Donetsk 1
While Leverkusen do not have many notable stars, offensive players like Sidney Sam and Stefan Kiessling make this attack difficult to stop. They might not put up four or five goals like other top squads in Europe, but they can get on the scoresheet consistently.
This might be too tough for Shakhtar to handle defensively. The squad is not as strong away from home, and the defense is likely to make mistakes that lead to goals.
While this would not seal a top-two spot for Bayer, it certainly will put the team in great shape going forward.
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