Monday, October 15, 2018

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen

Verdict: Home Win

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Saturday brings a crucial top-four battle in the Bundesliga between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen who sit level on 51 points in fourth and third place in the standings, respectively.

Borussia Dortmund

The BVB will be keen to put the last week quickly behind them as it brought nothing good to Peter Stoger’s side.

Borussia Dortmund first suffered a heartbreaking Revierderby defeat at the weekend, falling a 2-0 victim to Schalke in the Bundesliga. Another disappointment followed as the in-form Belgium international forward Michy Batshuayi suffered an ankle injury that will rule him out for the rest of the season. With their top-four credentials in a limbo, Borussia Dortmund now face a challenge of finding a proper replacement for the man who struck seven goals in his ten Bundesliga appearance since his January move from Chelsea. Peter Stoger has a number of options to replace the Belgian striker with Andre Schurrle, Maximilian Philipp, Alexander Isak and even Mario Gotze all seen as favourable candidates to replace him upfield. Having lost two of their last three Bundesliga matches, Borussia Dortmund will be under great pressure to get back to winning ways with only four games to go. It will be easier said than done despite the fact BVB won their last three matches at home in the league.

Team News

Michy Batshuayi is out of contention due to his ankle injury that will keep him on the sidelines until the end of the season.

Dan-Axel Zagadou is suffering from a thigh problem, whereas the hosts will also be without Sebastian Rode, Raphael Guerreiro and Shinji Kagawa.

Bayern Leverkusen

The 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Bundesliga newly-crowned champions in the DFB semifinal on Tuesday will have done little to break the mood and the positive atmosphere in the Bayer Leverkusen camp.

The midweek loss might have ended the four-match unbeaten run for Bayer Leverkusen but the hosts will nevertheless be keen to get back to extend the Bundesliga winning run and built upon the identical 4-1 wins over RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt, respectively. The swift double against the fellow European contenders will have done wonders to the team’s morale and it’s up to Heiko Herrlich to maintain the high level of confidence in his squad, despite the most recent issue involving Leon Bailey’s father-agent. The in-form winger was kept on the bench for the midweek Cup clash which angered the father and prompted speculation about Bailey’s future. The Jamaican star will not be bothered by speculation, however, and will be keen to extend his fine form which saw him score 9 goals in 21 Bundesliga appearances this season.

Team News

Striker Lucas Alario is back in contention following suspension but will find it hard to replace the in-form Kevin Volland who scored a hat-trick last time out.

Lars Bender is suspended for the match and Tim Jedvaj is expected to be handed a starting place at the weekend. Joel Pohjanpalo is out with an ankle injury.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Christian Pulisic last weekend became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 50 appearances
  • Hosts are without no less than six first-team players for the Bayer Leverkusen game
  • BVB are unbeaten in last 8 Bundesliga home matches (W5 D3)
  • Leverkusen won two of their last four trips to Dortmund
  • Kevin Volland is Bundesliga’s second top scorer behind Lewandowski with 14 goals on his tally

Conclusion

Level on points in fourth and third place in the Bundesliga standings, respectively, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen have plenty at stake ahead of the Saturday’s clash. A win for each side would push them towards the Champions League group stage with RB Leipzig agonizingly close behind, aiming to use even the slightest of slip ups from either side.

Verdict: Home Win

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

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