Leverkusen (AP) – Born in Prague, he plays Prague, but it is not primarily sentimental sentiments that surfaced Patrik Schick before the last Europa League group game on Thursday (6:55 p.m. / DAZN).

Bayer Leverkusen’s forward grew up at Sparta Prague, the bitter arch-rival of Bayer’s opponent Slavia Prague. And he also played for Slavia’s second major rival, Bohemians. “It’s definitely a special game,” said Schick, “I’ve always been a Sparta supporter. The rivalry will certainly flare up.”

In his career he is remarkable without a victory over Slavia, but also unbeaten. The now 24-year-old played only twice with Bohemians against the current champion of his home country. One match ended 2-2, the other 0-0. Schick missed Leverkusen’s first leg in Prague due to an injury. At the time, Bayer suffered its lone defeat in 16 competitive games this season in a 1-0 draw.

Rematch is all about chic. The € 26.5 million summer submission from AS Roma, loaned out to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga last year, played more than expected after a month and a half hiatus due to a torn muscle. And coach Peter Bosz also sees “a risk” with him. But Representative Lucas Alario, once his knee problems have healed after three games, will be able to assist as a joker, replacing Schick over the course of the game.

So the hope rests mainly on the Czech as Bayer reaches for the group victory today. Bosz “absolutely wants it, for the draw and for the good feeling.” But after the defeat in the first leg, Leverkusen needs a victory over Prague by tied points. And would also set at least one German Europa League record. Because the 17 goals scored so far, along with Werder Bremen (2009/10) and Eintracht Frankfurt (2018/19), are the highest a Bundesliga team has ever scored in the group stage. To set SSC Napoli’s international record, Bayer would have to score five goals.

That will also be difficult with Schick, who according to Bosz is really fit but not yet fully integrated into the game. “We haven’t seen Patrik’s full potential yet,” said the coach, “But we know what good players we’ve brought in. If he’s better adapted to his colleagues and they to him, then we’ll really get to know him. . “

That’s how Schick sees it himself. “I got on a train that had already left,” he said, referring to the team’s well-rehearsed attitude: “I still have to get to know my colleagues a little bit. But it gets better from match to match.”

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