Thursday, July 2, 2020

Prediction: Freiburg vs Bayer Leverkusen

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 28 May 2020

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Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

Freiburg are set to welcome Bayer Leverkusen to their Schwarzwald-Stadion in front of the empty stands on Friday evening as the two teams take each other on in a game that will open the 29th round of the 2019/20 season in the Bundesliga. With five rounds remaining to be played, both teams have a lot to play for and it should be an interesting match.

Freiburg

The hosts reside in the tightly knit group below the top five, currently led by Wolfsburg in sixth with 42 points. They are eighth with 38, one less than Hoffenheim in seventh and one more than Schalke in ninth. Hertha Berlin come next with 35, and then FC Koln in 11th with 34. Six teams being within eight points of each other means all of them are still within a shot of securing a place in next season’s Europa League; some with a big chance, others perhaps not so much.

One thing is certain. Freiburg must reach out and grab whatever they can from every game, including this one when they face a terrific Leverkusen side, if they are to hope to overtake Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg and play European football in 2020/21. They will probably feel heartened having seen the way Wolfsburg managed to rack up a convincing win at the BayArena on Tuesday.

On the other hand, a look at their own run of form in recent games is far from encouraging. They are yet to win a game since football came back in Germany, and their tally from the last six league matches is one win, two draws and three defeats.

Team News

Coach Christian Streich is likely to be without the services of forward Janik Haberer. Another forward, Gian-Luca Waldschmidt, recently suffered a back problem. He was back in the last game against Eintracht Frankfurt but only managed an hour on the pitch. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be involved on Friday. Defender Christian Gunter has reportedly been playing through a pain barrier and given that this game comes only three days after the last, he may be left out.

Bayer Leverkusen

Peter Bosz’s side were arguably the most impressive one in the first two rounds after Bundesliga’s return to action. Their slick movement and quick passing play were true enjoyment to watch, and they seemed on course to securing a place in the top four, especially after beating Borussia Monchengladbach at the Borussia-Park. But then something snapped against Wolfsburg on Tuesday, and the 1-4 defeat at home came as a real shock for everyone, probably not least for themselves.

A look at their last six league matches still gives out a feeling of formidability, though. Apart from this defeat, the run consists of four wins and a draw.

However, the loss put them on the back foot in the top-four race, allowing Gladbach to move above them again, if only on goal-difference. The two teams are now on 53 points each in fourth and fifth, with RB Leipzig above on 55. Borussia Dortmund are a bit further up on 57, seven behind title defenders Bayern Munich.

Team News

Midfielder Lars Bender, the team captain, has been missing with a foot injury. Striker Kevin Volland has returned to training following a an ankle problem, but he isn’t very likely to play just yet. Defender Jonathan Tah has been suffering with a back problem, but he was on the bench against Wolfsburg and could be involved.

Conclusion

Leverkusen simply cannot allow another setback like the one on Tuesday. Their hopes of playing in the Champions League next season are at stake, and with it possibly the future of some of their stars. It is to be expected that they will have learnt from the Wolfsburg game and put it a much better performance than they did then. If they do, there won’t be much Freiburg will be able to do to stop them.

Verdict: Away win

Best odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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