Both sides were stung in their opening group stage outings, Leverkusen losing 4-2 at Manchester United FC and the Spanish outfit going down 2-0 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.
'Simply got to win'
Bayer coach Sami Hyypiä highlighted his side’s home form as a reason they are “going into the game with self-confidence”. The hosts approach the tie having consolidated third-place in the Bundesliga standings by virtue of a 2-0 win over Hannover 96 on Matchday 7, but following on from the United defeat, Hyypiä is aware that this “this match at the BayArena is one we’ve simply got to win if we want to progress."
For Leverkusen midfielder Stefan Reinartz, the overriding feeling is one of eager anticipation nonetheless. “When we were training today and the Champions League balls were brought out you could sense how excited everyone is ahead of this one," the 24-year-old said.
Ravenous trio hunt goals in Europe
Reinartz played through for the full 90 minutes in the defeat at Old Trafford, but Bayer's otherwise prolific attacking trio in front of him were all replaced during the second half. Sidney Sam, Heung Min Son and Stefan Kießling were largely nullified in Manchester and Hyypiä will expect better from the much-vaunted triad who have led the way with aplomb for a side averaging three goals a game on home turf this season. The threesome will be relishing the prospect of finding holes in a Sociedad side which currently lies 13th in La Liga.
That is not to say that Leverkusen are underestimating their visitors, who finished fourth in Spain last year, with Hyypiä warning that “above all they’re technically good and we can't give them any one-on-one situations at the back." With two attack-minded teams in need of points, it promises to be a highly entertaining encounter.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Leno - Donati, Toprak, Spahic, Boenisch - L. Bender, Reinartz, Rolfes - Sam, Kießling, Son
Real Sociedad de Futbol: Bravo - Carlos Martinez, Mikel Gonzalez, Inigo Martinez, de la Bella - Bergara, Ruben Pardo - Chori Castro, Vela, Griezmann - Seferovic