Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund – Friday, September 29, 17:30 BST/18:30 CEST – BayArena, Leverkusen, Germany
Bayer Leverkusen are back on track. Three victories in a row, two in the Bundesliga and one in the Europa League, and the club seems to be back on track.
At the same time, however, Bayer still only got six points out of the first five matches, which puts die Werkself in 11th place in the Bundesliga standings. Furthermore, not everything was perfect in the Rheinderby against Fortuna Düsseldorf on Wednesday either.
Düsseldorf led with 8-0 shots in the first half, and it was only thanks to goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky that Bayer were still in the match. “We were lucky in the first half,” director of sport Rudi Völler told kicker after the match. Bayer may have ended the early season crisis, but head coach Heiko Herrlich still is working on right balance to get his talented side on the right track.
On the right track are Borussia Dortmund after defeating 1.FC Nürnberg on Wednesday 7-0. Head coach Lucien Favre seems to have finally found the right mixture among his many available attacking players.
Dortmund were fast, creative and dynamic. Marco Reus, in particular, was excellent against Nürnberg. The team captain is extremely important for Dortmund’s attacking play but seemed to somewhat struggle in Favre’s new system.
Nürnberg, however, were the perfect opponent for Reus to get back on form. With Reus backfiring and Favre having found the right balance, with what looked like a 4-2-2-2 at times against Nürnberg, Dortmund, who could go top of the table, will be a difficult opponent for Bayer on Saturday night at the BayArena.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund – Players to look out for:
Leon Bailey #9 – Bayer Leverkusen
Leon Bailey had a difficult start this season. The 21-year-old Jamaican attacking midfielder has scored just one goal in the first five matches this season. Bailey, however, is crucial for Bayer’s creative play and die Werkself will need Bailey in top form if they want to secure three points against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Jacob Bruun Larsen #34 – Borussia Dortmund
Jacob Bruun Larsen was a revelation against Nürnberg. The 20-year-old Dane “wants to make the difference” whenever he is on the field. Larsen’s goal in the ninth minute against Nürnberg opened the floodgates and also means that he has climbed up in the internal ladder ahead of Mario Götze and Jadon Sancho.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund – Match Stats
- Volland’s Matchday 5 brace ended a run of 10 competitive matches without a goal. He hadn’t found the net in the Bundesliga since grabbing a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt on April 14, 2018.
- Bailey has started all five of Leverkusen’s Bundesliga matches so far this season, scoring once.
- Leverkusen’s Sven Bender played for Dortmund between 2009-2017, winning two Bundesliga titles.
- Reus has scored 100 goals in 211 matches in all competitions for Dortmund.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund – 1-3
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund – Lineups
Hradecky – Jedvaj, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Kohr, L. Bender – Bailey, Havertz, Brandt – Volland
Head Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Bürki – Piszczek, Akanji, Diallo, Schmelzer – Witsel, Delaney – Pulisic, Bruun Larsen – Philipp, Reus
Head Coach: Lucien Favre
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.