Dortmund vs Leverkusen – Saturday, April 21, 17:30BST/18:30CEST – SIGNAL IDUNA PARK, Dortmund, Germany
Two teams with Champions League ambitions will be facing each other at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK in Dortmund Saturday evening. Furthermore, both Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to compensate for heavy defeats.
Borussia Dortmund continued their disappointing season with a 2-0 defeat against Schalke in the Revierderby last weekend. Together with the 6-0 defeat to Bayern two weeks prior it was perhaps the poorest 90 minutes on display by the Yellow and Blacks all season.
As a result, of the Revierderby defeat, Dortmund’s decision makers have announced wide sweeping changes in the squad, and several key players will now be under special observation until the end of the season. But for Dortmund to rebuild the squad, the Yellow and Blacks will have to reach the Champions League group stage.
Currently, in fourth place, Dortmund have a four-point gap to fifth place RB Leipzig. They are also even on points with Bayer Leverkusen, who are sitting one place on top of Dortmund thanks to a better goal difference. Bayer were in excellent form in the Bundesliga of late hammering Champions League competitors RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1.
Bayer should, therefore, be considered the hands-down favourite on Saturday against Dortmund. But a 6-2 defeat to Bayern in the Pokal and the loss of defender Lars Bender – with him in the squad Bayer have collected 2.05 points on average and without him, just 1.09 points on average – lies heavy on die Werkself.
Bayer have one of the youngest and certainly most exciting teams in the league. The question, however, is whether the side lacks the experience necessary to see out the season in the top four. Without a doubt, the future belongs to Bayer but whether the present will as well be on display on Saturday.
Dortmund vs Leverkusen – Players to look out for:
Mario Götze #10 – Borussia Dortmund
Mario Götze is among the players under special investigation by the BVB decision makers. The playmaker re-invented himself at the beginning of the season under Peter Bosz playing deeper and trying to immolate Andrés Iniesta. As a result, Götze has eliminated the special moments in his game and then struggled to create dangerous moments when new head coach Peter Stöger moved him further up the field to play a classic number 10 role. Götze was, therefore, left out of the squad at times but with Michy Batshuayi out for the rest of the season, Marco Reus is expected to play up front as a striker, which means that Götze will be expected to take Reus’ place in the starting lineup.
Lucas Alario #13 – Bayer Leverkusen
Lucas Alario entered the pitch in the second half when Bayer were chasing two goals against Bayern. Shortly after Bayern had struck again and the match was over. At the same time, it was clear that Bayer needed a classic number 9 on the field and the Argentine forward can certainly fulfil that role. The problem has been goal scoring consistency this season by the former River Plate forward, who has managed just seven goals and five assists in 19 Bundesliga games.
Dortmund vs Leverkusen – Match Stats
- Leverkusen, together with Bremen, have scored the most goals after counter-attacks (nine).
- Borussia Dortmund, together with Köln, have conceded the most goals after counter-attacks.
- Without captain Lars Bender Leverkusen have managed a point per game average of 1.09.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Dortmund vs Leverkusen – 2-1
Dortmund vs Leverkusen – Lineups
Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Akanji, Schmelzer – Dahoud, Weigl – Pulisic, Götze, Philipp – Reus
Head Coach: Peter Stöger
Leno – Retsos, Tah, S. Bender, Henrichs – Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz – Bailey, Volland, Brandt – Alario
Head Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.