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Preview: West Ham Face Uphill Battle in Europa League Clash

West Ham vs Bayer Leverkusen: A Crucial Europa League Quarterfinal Showdown

West Ham are set to face a formidable challenge as they host Bayer Leverkusen in the second leg of the Europa League quarterfinals. The Hammers trail 2-0 on aggregate against a Leverkusen side that remains unbeaten in European competition this season.

High Stakes at the London Stadium

The upcoming match at the London Stadium, scheduled for an 8pm BST kick-off on Thursday, April 18, 2024, promises high drama. West Ham finds themselves in a daunting position, needing to overturn a two-goal deficit against a team that has not tasted defeat in their last 43 matches across all competitions.

Disparity in Form and Fortitude

Leverkusen’s performance this season has been nothing short of spectacular. They clinched the Bundesliga title, dethroning Bayern Munich after a decade and winning 38 out of 43 matches in all competitions. In stark contrast, West Ham have secured victories in just 21 of their 47 games this season, with only one win in their last six Premier League outings.

The first leg saw Leverkusen dominate, firing 33 shots at goal compared to West Ham’s solitary effort. Despite resilient defending, West Ham conceded late in the game, with Leverkusen breaking the deadlock in the 83rd minute and adding a second in injury time. This puts West Ham in a precarious position, as they need a significant turnaround to progress.

Photo IMAGO

Key Players and Team News

The challenge for West Ham is compounded by potential absences. Top scorer Jarrod Bowen is doubtful for the clash, alongside concerns over Alphonse Areola and Kalvin Phillips. George Earthy has been ruled out due to a concussion sustained against Fulham. Lucas Paqueta and Emerson will also miss the match through suspension.

Photo: IMAGO

For Leverkusen, aside from Adam Hlozek who is sidelined with an ankle injury, the team enjoys a clean bill of health. This includes Konstantinos Mavropanos, who despite a knock in the first leg, started against Fulham and is expected to feature on Thursday.

Viewing Options

Fans can catch the action live on TNT Sports 2 and TNT Sports Ultimate, with coverage beginning at 7:30pm BST. Additionally, streaming is available via the Discovery+ app or website for subscribers.

Prediction and Outlook

Facing the most in-form team in Europe, West Ham’s chances seem slim, especially in the absence of key players like Bowen. The prediction for the night is a 2-1 victory for Leverkusen, which would see them advance with a 4-1 aggregate score. This match not only tests West Ham’s resilience but also underscores the sheer dominance of Leverkusen in this season’s Europa League.

As both teams prepare for this crucial encounter, all eyes will be on the London Stadium to see if West Ham can defy the odds or if Leverkusen will continue their impressive march through Europe.

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