Bayer Leverkusen take on Borussia Dortmund at the BayArena this Saturday, who are looking to carry on their unbeaten run which now stretches back to 10 competitive matches. They are also unbeaten so far at home this campaign and will go into the fixture off the back of a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend, which came via another goal from the in-form Kevin Volland.
Saturday’s game presents an excellent opportunity for die Werkself to leapfrog their opponents who have slipped alarmingly in recent weeks. Peter Bosz’ side have blown their five point lead they enjoyed at the top of the table after MD7 and just six weeks later are now eight points off the top of the table in fifth.
Furthermore, they have crashed out of the Champions League. Perhaps most shattering of all however came in the Revierderby last week in which they lead Schalke 4-0 at half-time. In one of the most dramatic turnarounds, their bitter rivals earned a 4-4 draw in what is the game of the season so far.
With the run of form they are currently enjoying, Leverkusen will not be looking to make too many changes to their starting line-up. However, one change is enforced with midfielder Dominik Kohr forced to sit this game out through suspension. There is positive news on the injury front for Leverkusen with Sven Bender pushing to return having missed out the last couple of games with a fractured rib.
Dortmund’s injury list continues to be lengthy and they have been further hampered by the loss of Mario Götze with an ankle injury. Lukasz Piszczek continues to be absent in defence and there is a major doubt that Dan-Axel Zagadou will be available. The visitors will of course also be without star-man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang through suspension after his red card in last week’s derby.
Kevin Volland (Bayer Leverkusen): The 25-year-old came to prominence at just 20, when he scored his first Bundesliga goal for Hoffenheim. He moved to his current club for a club record €18 million in the summer of 2016. He had a modest season last time out, scoring just six goals in 23 appearances This time around he has already notched eight goals in 13 appearances, including goals in his last three. He will no doubt hope that his run will continue and earn him a place in Joachim Low’s world-cup squad next summer.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund): The 19-year-old American4 is now establishing himself as a first-team regular since he made his debut at the start of 2016. With a squad full of outstanding players in his position, this is no mean feat. Additionally, he has already gained 20 full international caps for the national side and there will surely be many more to come. It will be interesting to see how such a talent will develop over time.
The form of both sides going into this game is polar opposites. Whilst Leverkusen are enjoying a fine run, Dortmund will still be reeling from last week’s capitulation. The terrible run of form that Dortmund have had has seen confidence shot and it is difficult to see where their next win is coming from. Against such a difficult opponent it is hard to make a case for that run to end.
Leverkusen 2 -1 Dortmund
By Jonathan Shelley.