It’s not easy for the coach to decide on his ideal starting eleven for this week's challenge. On Thursday afternoon, one day ahead of the match, Schmidt was still not reunited with all his squad. "I still haven't seen Robbie Kruse and Chicharito. They’re due to return sometime today." The other Werkself international players have mostly returned to Leverkusen fit and well. And there is good news on the midfielder Charles Aránguiz who went off injured in the second half of Chile's match against Colombia with a thigh problem. Schmidt said he is "fully fit".
Ömer Toprak, Julian Brandt and Kevin Kampl, who all missed international duty due to injury or illness, have returned to full training. And Schmidt had even more positive news for the press conference: "Joel Pohjanpalo and Vladlen Yurchenko trained with the rest the team. It's looking very good for both of them."
The only disappointment is the continuing absence of the Werkself skipper Lars Bender. "Lars's problem with his heel is getting better. But our captain is still feeling a bit of pain. I don't think he’ll be available for tomorrow." Schmidt added: "It doesn't matter who plays. We've every chance of winning the game against Leipzig."
"Much euphoria and confidence at Leipzig"
When asked about the opposition Leipzig, Schmidt admitted there were similarities. "The approach of both teams is similar: We want to be proactive and get on the front foot. Leipzig play that way too but not exclusively – and neither do we. That's all part of modern football. Every coach has to choose the key points in his game that he thinks are right. Leipzig have carried the promotion euphoria over into the new season and their squad has real quality. They work well together and have gained confidence with every win."
Overall, Schmidt appeared optimistic: "There is a good feeling in the group. We have players who are happy to get back to the dressing room. That's a good sign. I feel there's a great level of determination – and that's what we want to show on the pitch tomorrow!"
Tickets available on the night
Tickets, starting at €29 (concessions €19 and €9 for children), are still available for the home game against Leipzig on the night from the ticket offices at the BayArena.
A1: Delays on Leverkusen-West motorway junction at the weekend
The Leverkusen-West motorway junction is subject to restrictions at the weekend. The roadworks begin on Friday (18.11.) at 22.00 CET and end on Monday (21.11.) at 05.00 CET. The Rheinallee will not be accessible from the A1 in either direction. The alternative route via Rheindorf is marked with red dots. The restrictions are due to work on the Rhine Bridge over the weekend.
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