Bayer Leverkusen players celebrate their goal against Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, December 7. Reuters
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Buoyed by a big victory over Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, Bayer Leverkusen will look to continue that fine form when they travel to Real Sociedad in the Champions League.
Leverkusen need to better Shakhtar Donetsk's result at Manchester United to stand a chance of progressing to the last 16, and manager Sami Hyypia, whose side were thumped 5-0 by Manchester United in their last Champions League match two weeks ago, has called on his side to take inspiration from the brilliant 1-0 victory over Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday.
"We improved greatly against Dortmund and need to take that into tomorrow [Tuesday]," the former Liverpool defender said. "Manchester United's game is important for us and will influence our match. In any case we want to win.
"We are going to follow the Manchester United game. If in the 75th minute we are still drawing with Real Sociedad and something happens in the other match we can take more risks and look for a win. Maybe I'll have my phone on the bench with me.
"We didn't play well against Manchester United, losing 5-0. I was disappointed but that is football and these things happen. Now we want to win. Even if Sociedad decide to rest players, those coming in will have a point to prove, so it'll be tough."
Leverkusen trail Shakhtar in Group A by a single point, with United already ensured of a place in the knockout rounds. Real Sociedad are out of the running having picked up just a single point all campaign, but the Spanish side will look to end on a "positive note" with victory at home against the German side, who won 2-1 in the reverse tie.
"We know it's an important match for Leverkusen but we want to win too," Sociedad manager Jagoba Arrasate said. "We are at home in front of our supporters and it's a very important game for us. We played well in our opening fixtures but lost and now the objective is to finish on a positive note. We haven't got what we deserved but that counts for nothing.
"Everything has gone so quickly. It only seems like yesterday that we played against Lyon in the playoffs and now we're nearing the end. Motivation comes easily. Everyone wants to be involved in these games. We are playing a team who are close to Bayern in the German league and beat Borussia Dortmund at the weekend. They are attractive opponents and we're facing them in a great competition."
Team news: Real Sociedad: Esteban Granero is a long-term injury victim, with Inigo Martinez also ruled out with a thigh injury.
Bayer Leverkusen: Hyypia is expected to be without Sidney Sam [thigh], Roberto Hilbert [knee] and Andres Palop [calf], but Stefan Reinartz could make a return from an ankle problem.
Key men: Real Sociedad: Antoine Griezmann netted his 11th goal of the season in the Copa Del Rey first leg at Algeciras and the Frenchman will look to add to his tally come Tuesday.
Bayer Leverkusen: Strikers Son Heung-Min, who scored the winner against Dortmund which sent them six points clear of Jurgen Klopp's men, and Stefan Kiessling will need to be kept under wraps by Sociedad, if the Spaniards are to stand a chance of ending their Champions League campaign with three points.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 1.15 am IST start on early Wednesday morning with no live coverage in India. You can live stream the match by clicking HERE. Viewers in the U.S. can catch the action via live streaming HERE. To watch the match in the U.K., click HERE. Viewers in North Africa and the Middle East click HERE.
Expected lineups: Real Sociedad: Bravo; Zaldua, Cadamuro, Ansotegi, De La Bella; Elustondo, Ros; Griezmann, Xabi Prieto, Vela; Seferovic.
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno; Donati, Toprak, Spahic, Can; Bender, Rolfes, Castro; Hegeler, Kiessling, Son.
Prediction: 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen
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