UEFA Champions League Group A : Profile Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen

ManUtd.com assesses United’s Champions League Group A opponents…

When do we meet? Home: 17 September; Away: 27 November

Where do they play? BayArena; capacity 30,210.

Who’s the boss? Sami Hyypia. The 39-year-old Finnish ex-Liverpool defender left Anfield in 2009 to join the Bundesliga club and played out the final two years of his career. He then became assistant manager and was appointed caretaker boss before finally taking over the hotseat at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

And how did they qualify? In Hyypia’s first full season in charge he led Leverkusen to an impressive third spot in the Bundesliga, just a point behind Borussia Dortmund, though they were 26 adrift of winners Bayern Munich. So far this season they’re undefeated after three games.

Who are their key men? Well, Andre Schurrle departed for Chelsea this summer, but they kept hold of towering centre-forward Stefan Kiessling (pictured), who was top scorer in Germany last year with 25 goals. Otherwise, 21-year-old South Korean star Heung-Min Son is highly-rated and midfielder Sidney Sam is a scoring threat, and German international Lars Bender is another one to watch.

Have we met before? The 2001/02 Champions League semi-finals still send a shiver down the spine for most Reds. The tie ended 3-3 on aggregate and United went out on away goals. The two conceded at Old Trafford still rankle. The teams met again later that year in the 2002/03 group stages, with United winning 2-1 away and 2-0 at Old Trafford.


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