Bayer Leverkusen are set to take on Borussia Dortmund at BayArena in the Bundesliga on Sunday evening.
Xavi Alonso’s side have enjoyed a dream start to this season as they are currently unbeaten in all competitions, winning 18 out of 19 encounters. They have only drawn their league assignment against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Stadium. So, Die Werkself are the most in-form team in Europe at the moment and they will be full of confidence ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Leverkusen are currently top of the Bundesliga with 34 points from 12 games, sitting two points above the reigning champions Bayern Munich. On the other hand, they have secured their place at the top of their group in the Europa League and have now qualified for the knockout stage of this competition.
Meanwhile, Dortmund have had a mixed start this season as they are currently fourth in the league with 24 points from 12 games and have already fallen behind in the title race.
However, Edin Terzic’s side have managed to book their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League by winning their game in midweek. The BVB have been drawn in the group of death of Europe’s elite club competition – where alongside the German giants, Paris Saint Germain, AC Milan and Newcastle United are in it.
It initially looked like it would be tough for them to get past the group stage but they have now managed to book their place in the knockouts. So, that achievement should give them much-needed confidence before this crucial encounter versus Leverkusen.
This fixture tends to be a high-scoring affair. Dortmund have enjoyed great success versus Leverkusen in recent times as they have managed to win four out of the last five encounters against Die Werkself, losing one. Alonso lost his first meeting with the BVB last season but he will be desperate to take revenge for that loss and win the game tomorrow.
How to watch
The game will kick off at 4:30 UK time and the match will be televised live on Sky Sports Football channel in the UK. Match going fans can buy BVB tickets through official club channels or via trusted resellers.
Leverkusen don’t have many injury issues ahead of this encounter but they will be without Arthur due to a long-term muscular problem. Apart from that, Alonso has a full-strength squad to choose from.
As for Dortmund, they will be without Julian Duranville and Felix Nmecha due to their respective issues, while Nicolas Sule is in doubt ahead of this encounter owing to illness. Marcel Lotka isn’t available for selection as he is suspended for tomorrow’s game.
Alonso has been deploying the 3-4-2-1 formation and is likely to go with the same for this game. The Spaniard made some changes to his starting eleven in midweek but is expected to go with his strongest side tomorrow.
So, Lukas Hradecky should return to the starting eleven after a midweek breather. Jonathan Tah, Odilon Kossounou and Edmond Tapsoba should start in the back three so Piero Hincapie and Josip Stanisic will return to the bench after commencing last time out.
Granit Xhaka and Exequiel Palacios are expected to be at the heart of Leverkusen’s engine room and therefore, Robert Andrich and Gustavo Puerta will have to settle for a place on the bench after commencing in midweek.
Alejandro Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong should be in the wing-back positions, while Florian Wirtz and Jonas Hofmann could be in the attacking midfield position. So, Amine Adli, Nathan Tella and Adam Hlozek will have to make do with a place on the bench. Victor Okho Boniface should lead the line for Leverkusen tomorrow.
Expected Leverkusen line-up vs Dortmund
Hradecky; Kossounou, Tah, Tapsoba; Frimpong, Palacios, Xhaka, Grimaldo; Wirtz, Hofmann; Boniface
For Dortmund, Terzic is likely to go with his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation – where Gregor Kobel should commence in goal. Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck are likely to be the centre-back pairing if Sule can’t recover in time, while Julian Ryerson and Ramy Bensebaini should commence in the fullback positions.
Marcel Sabitzer and Emre Can should continue in midfield after helping BVB win against Milan in midweek. Marco Reus is likely to keep hold of his place in the attacking midfield position for Dortmund. On either side of the German, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Julian Brandt could commence tomorrow.
So, Donyell Malen is likely to be among the substitutes in this fixture after starting against Milan in midweek. Niclas Fullkrug should be in the centre-forward position for BVB tomorrow.
Expected Dortmund line-up vs Leverkusen
Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini; Sabitzer, Can; Brandt, Reus, Bynoe-Gittens; Fullkrug
Boniface has enjoyed a promising campaign so far this term, scoring seven goals and registering five assists in 12 Bundesliga appearances. So, Leverkusen will be hoping that he will be able to put his name on the scoresheet tomorrow and help his side win the game.
Hofmann and Wirtz have also been excellent this season and the responsibility will be on them to create chances for Boniface and finish those off if they get any.
Leverkusen’s wing-backs, Grimaldo and Frimpong have been enjoying a brilliant season this term as they have been prolific in front of the goal. So, Dortmund will have to stop them if they wish to come away with a positive result from this fixture.
Xhaka and Palacios have been the conductors of Leverkusen’s possessional play and Dortmund will have to find a way to disrupt their rhythm to stop Die Werkself from playing their natural free-flowing football.
As for Dortmund, Fullkrug has been in fine form this season and Terzic will be hoping that he will be able to continue his goal-scoring form in this encounter as well.
Bynoe-Gittens has scored in back-to-back games for Dortmund and it remains to be seen whether the Englishman can put his name on the scoresheet in the three consecutive encounters tomorrow.
Reus and Brandt have had a productive start to this season and they will have to be at their best to help their side come away with all three points from this fixture.
The responsibility will be on Hummels and Schlotterbeck to organise the defence and keep the opposition attacks away from their goal.
Leverkusen have been in great form and they are looking like an unbeatable side. However, Dortmund are going to be a tough challenge for Die Werkself. So, it’s going to be interesting to see how they are going to perform in this game.
Dortmund have the firepower to hurt the league leaders so they could come away with something from BayArena. Therefore, the game may end in a stalemate, however, it’s likely to be a high-scoring match. Leverkusen 3-3 Dortmund
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