A positive result is the priority for Bayer 04 Leverkusen when they take on Primeira Liga leaders Sporting Clube de Portugal in their UEFA Europa League Round of 32 first leg in Lisbon on Thursday (kick-off: 21:05CET/20:05GMT).
Die Werkself enter the competition after finishing third behind FC Barcelona and AS Roma in UEFA Champions League Group E, the Rhineland outfit’s failure to win a single one of their three away games proving costly.
"We want to pick up points away from home," Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno told bayer04.tv. "We want to lay down a marker. As a bare minimum we want a draw. It’d be great if we can score. It's going to be a close tie."
- Leverkusen have met Lisbon on four previous occasions - all in the Champions League - winning three and drawing the other 0-0.
- Leverkusen’s record against Portuguese opposition reads W5, D4, L5.
- Sporting have won only two of their previous 22 meetings against teams from Germany, losing 14 and drawing six.
- Leverkusen are without a win in five European outings.
- Current Sporting head coach Jorge Jesus was in charge of the SL Benfica side that eliminated Leverkusen from the last 32 of the competition in 2012/13.
- 2005 UEFA Cup finalists Sporting fell to Bundesliga outfit VfL Wolfsburg in last season’s Round of 32.
Sporting: Rui Patricio - Coates, Zeegelaar, Semedo, J Pereira - Mane, W Carvalho, Silva (c), Eduardo - Slimani, Ruiz
Leverkusen: Leno - Jedvaj, Tah, Toprak (c), Wendell - Frey, Calhanoglu - Bellarabi, Brandt, Mehmedi - Kießling