Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund preview
After 12 gameweeks there looks to be something off when viewing the Bundesliga table. It is because despite remaining undefeated, including ten wins, Bayern Munich, who have won the last 11 titles, find themselves in second place. The reason being the incredible resurgence of Bayer Leverkusen under the enigmatic Xabi Alonso.
Die Werkself are on an eight-game winning streak and has yet to lose game this season. In fact, they also went to Allianz Arena and came away with the point, which showcases how hard it is for any team to beat them.
The next team standing in their way are Borussia Dortmund, who have made far from a perfect start in the league. Die Schwarzgelben are currently ten points adrift of Leverkusen. However, Dortmund are not a team to be taken lightly, as they have demonstrated in the Champions League by going top of the ‘Group of Death,’ which included Paris Saint Germain, Newcastle United, and AC Milan.
And manager Edin Terzic will be hoping that their Champions League exploits inspire his team to improve their performances in the Bundesliga to get themselves back in the title race.
However, it is easier said than done against a team that appears to do no wrong. The team has performers everywhere in the squad such as Piero Hincapie, Jonathan Tah, and Edmond Tapsoba in defence, Exequiel Palacios and Granit Xhaka in midfield, flying full backs in Alex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong. The star of the show, though, has been the attacking triumvirate of Jonas Hofman, Florian Wirtz, and Victor Boniface.
Dortmund, like Leverkusen, had made a good start to the season, remaining undefeated for the first nine games. Then came the game against Bayern Munich, where they lost 4-0 at the Signal Iduna Park and followed it up with another defeat against VFB Stuttgart. These two defeats have seriously hurt Dortmund’s campaign, and they will need a big win to rejuvenate the squad physically and mentally.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund Lineups
Bayer Leverkusen lineup
For the first time in a long time, Bayer Leverkusen have an almost injury-free squad, which gives Xabi Alonso a lot of ability to rotate his squad in a campaign where his team is fighting for trophies on multiple fronts. With Dortmund a credible challenger, Alonso will field his strongest 11, which means the trio of Hincapie, Tapsoba, and Tah will start in defence ahead of Lukas Hradecky, who has been the preferred man between the sticks in the league.
Xhaka and Palacios will play as a double pivot with Frimpong and Grimaldo providing width as wingbacks. Hofman and Wirtz will play as the attacking midfielders behind Boniface, who will continue his role as the sole striker.
Bayer Leverkusen Predicted Lineup: Hradecky; Hincapie, Tapsoba, Tah; Grimaldo, Xhaka, Palacios, Frimpong; Wirtz, Hofman; Boniface
Borussia Dortmund lineup
Dortmund suffered a significant blow when midfielder Felix Nmecha sustained a hip injury which has ruled him out for the entire season; other than that, only centre-back Niklas Sule and Julien Duranville are out, which means that Dortmund can also field a strong side at the BayArena. Gregor Kobel will start in goals behind the quartet of Ramy Bensebaini, Nico Schlotterbeck, Matt Hummels, and Julian Ryerson. Emre Can and Marcel Sabitzer have been brilliant in the midfield and will take the field behind Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Marco Reus, and Julian Brandt. Niclas Füllkrug will play as the lone forward.
Borussia Dortmund Predicted Lineup: Kobel: Bensebaini, Schlotterbeck, Hummels, Ryerson; Sabitzer, Can; Bynoe-Gittens, Reus, Brandt; Fullkrug
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund predictions
It is hard to predict the results of these games as both teams have the firepower to destroy the other on their day. Borussia Dortmund’s form has been contrasting across different competitions, which shows that the club still needs more consistency and the ability to win games where they are not at their best, both qualities of a title-winning team.
However, Bayer Leverkusen appear to have done no wrong in the Bundesliga and the Europa League, where they have won five games out of five to qualify for the knockout round. And with almost their entire lineup in pristine form and the home crowd support, it looks like a certain Leverkusen victory.
FootTheBall predicts a 3-1 win for Bayer Leverkusen.