In the Europa League against Celtic Glasgow, coach Gerardo Seoane will once again have some of the most recently injured players on hand. Right winger Karim Bellarabi is the closest to a quartet comeback.
Fit for Celtic: Karim Bellarabi from Leverkusen. imago images / Sven Simon
Originally, they had hoped for the return of a maximum of five professionals to Bayer 04 on Saturday against VfL Bochum (1-0). But only Florian Wirtz said he was ready to face the promoted side – and pioneered Leverkusen’s first win after four league games without three points.
Thursday against Celtic Glasgow, the national player should ideally be followed by four other professionals: Lucas Alario, Patrik Schick, Karim Bellarabi and Charles Aranguiz were all Wednesday at the final training session at the Ulrich Haberland stadium.
Not all returnees are at the same level
“We’ll get to see one or the other on Thursday, but probably not all,” Gerado Seoane said of the quartet, who aren’t quite on par with their comeback efforts.
Closest is Karim Bellarabi, who started team training last week. The right-winger is likely to be a candidate for wildcard use against the Scots and would then also be a real option for the Leipzig game on Sunday.
Considerations at Schick
While for center forward Alario and sixth Aranguiz, who have already done at least much of the squad’s training on Tuesday, a starting XI against Celtic would come too soon, it’s not even clear to Schick if he will slip into the team.
The Czech center-forward has trained intensively so far, but always individually and competed for his colleagues for the first time on Wednesday. However, only to a very limited extent. It is quite possible that Schick will use again on Thursday to strengthen himself, missing against Celtic for the last time, and then returning to the squad of the day on Sunday at his ex-club RB Leipzig.
Job sharing against RB?
Seoane, who as usual has kept a low profile, has at least indicated there will be no comeback wave against Celtic. When asked how much risk he would take with returnees, he said he wanted to “rely on a healthy mix”. Where the focus is on healthy should be lying. Seoane made it clear when he said: “Among the players who are 100% available, we will try to make the best selection in order to approach tomorrow’s game with the best concentration.”
So rather without someone from the quartet in the starting XI. Because 100% applies best to Bellarabi, which Seoane certainly doesn’t want to weigh down too much before the game at RB Leipzig. That could change in Sunday’s top-level game in Leipzig. Through Bellarabi and possibly one of the two center forward, who could possibly play the role of job sharing.