Xabi Alonso’s Bundesliga leaders will have home advantage in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Look ahead with our Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham prediction and preview.

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Bayer Leverkusen are the favourites on Thursday, winning 62.8% of the Opta supercomputer’s 10,000 pre-match simulations against West Ham.
  • Leverkusen are unbeaten this season in all competitions, with their UEFA Europa League record comprising seven wins and a single draw in eight matches.
  • West Ham have already eliminated German opponents in this season’s competition, beating SC Freiburg 5-1 on aggregate in the last 16.

Match Preview

Unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen hope to continue their remarkable 2023-24 when they host West Ham at the BayArena on Thursday with the aim of putting one foot into the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

Xabi Alonso’s soon-to-be Bundesliga champions have 36 wins and five draws to their name in a remarkable 41-game undefeated streak that stretches back to the very start of the season. They could even add European honours to their likely domestic success.

They were somewhat unconvincing in the previous Europa League round, though, squeezing past Qarabağ 5-4 on aggregate after a last-gasp 3-2 home victory in the second leg. Patrik Schick provided a late, late show as his two goals after Jeremie Frimpong’s strike helped Leverkusen come from 2-0 down to go through.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Qarabag xG race

Schick has scored in each of his last four appearances for Leverkusen in this competition, netting five goals in total with four coming as a substitute. Only Rodrigo Palacio in 2012-13 for Inter (five) has ever netted more sub goals in a Europa League season, while Ulf Kirsten is the only Bayer player to score in five consecutive major European appearances, doing so twice (five in 1993-94 & five in 1998-99).

The Czech forward’s form has aided Bayer, who are yet to lose in any competition this season and boast a record of seven wins and one draw in the Europa League, scoring 24 goals in the process. The Bundesliga side have only ever won more games in a single major European campaign in 2001-02 (eight), while this term’s goal tally can only be bettered in 1994-95 (26) and 2001-02 (29).

Florian Wirtz will likely play a central role again on Thursday as well, having scored the match-winning penalty in a 1-0 triumph at Union Berlin last time out in the German top flight. That victory came at a cost, however, as Adam Hložek and Nathan Tella were both removed due to injury in either half.

Hložek’s ankle problem could rule him out of both quarter-final meetings, though Schick and Victor Boniface – who returned last week from an injury layoff of over three months – are more than capable options up top for Alonso. Frimpong will likely be restored to the starting XI in Tella’s place on the wing, though the Nigerian’s condition isn’t thought to be a major concern.

West Ham boss David Moyes has his own injury issues to contend with as Jarrod Bowen looks set to miss this clash due to a spine injury sustained in a 2-1 victory at Wolves on Saturday. First-choice goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is another definite absentee, while Edson Álvarez remains suspended.

Owing to Kalvin Phillips’ underwhelming form, the question remains as to whether Moyes will opt for a three-man defensive switch, rather than replacing Álvarez in a like-for-like swap with the Manchester City loanee. Further forward, Michail Antonio should come into the lineup for Bowen, while Czech pair Vladimír Coufal and Tomás Soucek are expected to be fit.

Thursday will provide a different test against the Bundesliga leaders, though, having swept aside fellow German side SC Freiburg with a 5-1 aggregate triumph in the last round. West Ham were 1-0 losers in the last-16 away leg but roared back with a five-star performance as Lucas Paquetá, Bowen, Aaron Cresswell and Mohammed Kudus (2) were all on target at London Stadium.

West Ham vs Freiburg xG map

West Ham attacker Kudus has scored five goals in each of the last two major European campaigns (five for Ajax in 2022-23 and as many this term for the Hammers). He is also only the third Ghanaian player to score 10+ goals in major European competitions after Tony Yeboah (17) and Michael Essien (11).

The former Ajax man will shoulder much of the attacking burden in Bowen’s absence, while Moyes will hope to get the best out of Paquetá as speculation continues over apparent Manchester City interest in the Brazilian playmaker.

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham Head-to-Head

This will be the first European meeting between Bayer and West Ham, while the Bundesliga club last faced English opponents in Europe in the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League group stage against Tottenham (0-0 at home, won 1-0 away).

West Ham have already eliminated German opponents in the Europa League this season, too, beating Freiburg 5-1 on aggregate in the last 16. However, they did lose the away leg of their knockout tie 1-0.

Overall, this will be West Ham’s fifth match against German opposition in this season’s competition, with all four others coming against Freiburg.

The Hammers are just the third English team to play 5+ games against German teams in a major European season, after Liverpool in the 1972-73 UEFA Cup and Manchester City in the 2022-23 Champions League, both of whom won those competitions that season.

Recent Form

Bayer have won all four of their home Europa League matches this season, scoring 3+ goals in each match (17 in total), as their unbelievable 2023-24 campaign threatens further success.

The only team in this competition’s history to win five in a row and score 3+ goals in each game were Chelsea in 2018-19, while no German side have ever scored more than 17 goals at home in a Europa League season.

Alonso’s side are also averaging 2.4 goals per game (38) across his 16 matches in charge in this competition. That’s the best of any manager with 15+ games managed in the Europa League, while only Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone (81%, P26 W21) can better the Spaniard’s win ratio (P16 W11, 69%) among the same group of coaches.

All of the above suggests a difficult night is in store for Moyes, whose side have managed just two wins from four away games in this European campaign.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of Thursday’s kick-off, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham Prediction

Owing to their remarkable season so far, Bayer are the heavy favourites for a first-leg victory as the Opta supercomputer backs a home win in 62.8% of 10,000 pre-match simulations.

West Ham leave BayArena with an unlikely triumph in just 17.3% of sims, with the draw – teeing up a winner-takes-all second leg – forecast slightly more often at 19.8%.

Whomever triumphs over the two meetings here will meet either Roma or Milan in the semi-finals; but suffice to say, West Ham are rated among the outsiders of those left in the quarter-finals.

In the latest Europa League season predictions, they lifted the trophy in just 4.3% of the simulations. Leverkusen did so in 23.9%, making them second favourites for the title.

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham prediction

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham Squads

Bayer Leverkusen: Lukas Hradecky, Matěj Kovář, Niklas Lomb, Josip Stanišić, Piero Hincapié, Jonathan Tah, Odilon Kossounou, Edmond Tapsoba, Arthur, Alex Grimaldo, Jeremie Frimpong, Jonas Hofmann, Robert Andrich, Florian Wirtz, Exequiel Palacio, Gustavo Puerta, Granit Xhaka, Borja Iglesias, Patrik Schick, Nathan Tella, Amine Adli, Victor Boniface, Adam Hložek.

Head Coach: Xabi Alonso

West Ham: Lukasz Fabianski, Alphonse Areola, Joseph Anang, Ben Johnson, Aaron Cresswell, Kurt Zouma, Vladimir Coufal, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Angelo Ogbonna, Nayef Aguerd, Emerson, James Ward-Prowse, Lucas Paquetá, Kalvin Phillips, Mohammed Kudus, Edson Álvarez, Tomás Soucek, Michail Antonio, Maxwel Cornet, Danny Ings, Jarrod Bowen.

Head Coach: David Moyes

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