Xabi Alonso will hope to continue the celebrations on Thursday as his team eye a UEFA Europa League semi-final spot. Look ahead with our West Ham vs Bayer Leverkusen prediction and preview.

West Ham vs Bayer Leverkusen Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Bayer Leverkusen are the favourites on the night for this UEFA Europa League encounter, winning 47.2% of pre-match simulations ahead of the quarter-final second leg.
  • Leverkusen are unbeaten in 10 Europa League matches (W8 D2). In major European competitions, only from September 1986 to April 1988 have they enjoyed a longer such run (14 games in the UEFA Cup).
  • West Ham have won each of their last 11 home games in European competitions (including qualifiers), seven of which by a margin of 2+ goals.

Match Preview

Bayer Leverkusen cannot afford a Bundesliga hangover when they visit West Ham on Thursday looking to book a place in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

David Moyes’ side have it all to do at London Stadium in the second leg, trailing 2-0 from the first meeting at BayArena after Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface scored late on to seize Leverkusen’s advantage.

Yet Xabi Alonso’s dominant German team could be forgiven for being distracted heading into this midweek contest after Bayer secured their first Bundesliga title in history with Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing of Werder Bremen.

Florian Wirtz crafted a quickfire second-half hat-trick against Werder but celebrations were already well underway after Boniface’s 25th-minute penalty and a Granit Xhaka screamer. Wirtz is accustomed to impressing in this competition, too, creating 83 chances in the Europa League in his career, at least 22 more than any other player since his debut in August 2020.

Of course, Wirtz, Boniface and Co. could soon move on to what some may claim are greener pastures but, first, Alonso’s men have the chance to double down on their Bundesliga success with European glory.

And, if the opening meeting is anything to go by, Moyes’ side could struggle again here. In the first leg, Leverkusen recorded 33 shots to West Ham’s one; since the Europa League began in 2009, this is the biggest-ever difference in shots (32) between two sides in a match against one another in the competition.

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham xG map

After that one-sided encounter in Leverkusen, this will be the fifth time West Ham have trailed by 2+ goals going into the second leg of a two-legged knockout tie in all European competitions. The Hammers progressed from the first two, against ADO Den Haag in the 1975-76 Cup Winners’ Cup and Real Madrid Castilla in the 1980-81 Cup Winners’ Cup.

However, they failed in the most recent two. Those defeats came against Dinamo Tbilisi in the 1980-81 Cup Winners’ Cup and FCSB in the 1999-00 UEFA Cup. Preparations for the next comeback task could not have gone much worse either after a 2-0 defeat at home to Fulham on Sunday.

Fulham midfielder Andreas Pereira did the damage at London Stadium as West Ham suffered a blow to their European hopes. Defeat left them eighth in the league table and just a point clear of Chelsea, who have two games in hand.

Aside from a disappointing outcome against Fulham, there was also concern as 19-year-old George Earthy’s Premier League debut ended with a worrying head injury after a collision with teammate Edson Álvarez. The young midfielder will miss Thursday’s game, though there’s less certainty around Jarrod Bowen, who will reportedly be given until as long as possible to prove his fitness after a knee injury.

Kalvin Phillips is nearing a return, though this game may come too soon for goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. Lucas Paquetá was booked in the first leg and so misses out this week due to suspension.

As for Leverkusen’s team news, Adam Hložek is expected to miss out due to an ankle injury, but Alonso otherwise looks likely to have a full squad to pick from.

West Ham vs Bayer Leverkusen Head-to-Head

Not all hope is lost for Moyes given West Ham have won three of their last four home games against German opposition (L1).

That victorious stretch includes already beating SC Freiburg twice in the Europa League this season, having triumphed 2-0 in the group stage before a 5-0 last-16 success overturned a 1-0 away defeat to the Bundesliga side.

Leverkusen have only won one of their 10 away games against English sides in all competitions (D2 L7), though that win came in their last visit to the capital against Tottenham in November 2016 (1-0).

Yet Alonso may not be too concerned about that record, considering Leverkusen amassed 2.41 expected goals (xG) to West Ham’s 0.2 in the first leg – a feat the Spaniard will hope to repeat in the return meeting.

Recent Form

Leverkusen remain unbeaten this season across all competitions (43 matches), including in 10 Europa League games (W8 D2). In major European competitions, only from September 1986 to April 1988 have they ever gone longer without defeat (14, all in the UEFA Cup).

The Bundesliga champions have also progressed from all 13 previous two-legged European knockout ties when leading by 2+ goals after the first leg (including qualifiers), though their dominance could be tested at London Stadium.

West Ham have won each of their last 11 home games in European action – again, including qualifiers – seven of which were by a margin of 2+ goals.

Moyes’ men will have to make it 12 wins on the spin at home in Europe, while a two-goal margin of victory is the least they require to take this tie to extra-time or penalties.

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.

West Ham vs Bayer Leverkusen Prediction

Unsurprisingly, the Opta supercomputer is backing Leverkusen to win this one as the visitors triumphed in 47.2% of 10,000 pre-match simulations.

West Ham have to overturn a two-goal deficit but were victorious in just 28.5% of data-led sims, while the draw – which would ease Alonso’s men through – was forecast at 24.3%.

That means Leverkusen have a 92.3% chance of reaching the last four in Opta’s tournament predictions, compared to a mere 7.7% for West Ham.

Further down the line, the Bundesliga champions are favourites to win the entire competition at 37.2%, ahead of Atalanta (27%) and Benfica (27%).

West Ham vs Bayer Leverkusen prediction
Inside 90 minutes

Bayer Leverkusen vs West Ham UEL Squads

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

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

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