Kharkiv - Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Metalist Kharkiv both currently share top spot in Group K of the UEFA Europa League and when they meet in Ukraine's second-largest city on Thursday evening (kick-off 19:00 CET), each will be accordingly hoping to move a step closer to winning the group.

With ten points from their opening four matches, both sides are still unbeaten in the tournament this season. To add extra spice to the encounter, Metalist have won both matches on home soil, while Leverkusen are yet to drop a point, or concede, on their travels.

Eyes on the prize


Freezing temperatures are likely to greet theWerkself in south eastern Ukraine, but sporting director Rudi Völler is hoping his side can warm themselves up with a win. "We've already qualified for the next round, but would much prefer to get over the line as group winners," said Völler ahead of Bayer's flight on Wednesday. "We're determined to defend our position in the table in Kharkiv and, at the very least, take a point. We'll attempt to do that by any means necessary, even if one or two players will be rested, because we've got an extremely busy schedule ahead of us in the coming weeks."

German internationals Andre Schürrle and Lars Bender, as well as Gonzalo Castro and Ömer Toprak, have not travelled with the side, while Simon Rolfes has remained in Germany due to the imminent arrival of his second child. This will result in a much-changed line-up for Leverkusen compared to their 0-0 draw earlier this season against a team who, incidentally, have never scored against German opposition. "No matter who features in the starting line-up against Metalist, they'll certainly be giving everything they've got," declared Völler.

Possible line-ups:

Kharkiv: Goryainov - Villagra, Gueye, Marlos, Fininho - Torres, Edmar - Xavier - Taison, Cristaldo, Sosa

Leverkusen: Leno - Carvajal, Wollscheid, Friedrich, Carlinhos - Reinartz, Hegeler - Kohr, Renato Augusto, Aydin - Junior Fernandes