Bayer Leverkusen host Borussia Dortmund in the standout fixture from the final round of the first half of the Bundesliga season. Both sides collected 29 points from the first sixteen rounds with Leverkusen having a superior goal difference. Peter Bosz’s side ruined another chance to close the top two gap after a crushing defeat at Union Berlin. Borussia Dortmund further loses momentum with an uninspiring draw against relegation fighters Mainz.
Leverkusen out of depth since the first league defeat
For the very first time under Peter Bosz, Leverkusen are winless in four consecutive league games. It all started in the late defeat against Bayern. They dominated Hans Flick’s side in the first half before Robert Lewandowski’s double inflicted their first league defeat of the season.
Since the turn of the year, Leverkusen only managed a single point from three league encounters. The cup win against Eintracht Frankfurt was promising, but they came down to earth with another late defeat at Union Berlin on Friday.
Leverkusen enjoyed the majority of possession at Berlin but struggled to create openings. At the same time, Union squandered multiple chances on the break. Leon Bailey and Moussa Diaby showed some fancy skills, but their deliveries were largely disappointing. Patrik Schick did little upfront as Kerem Demirbay was the only player with a decent Leverkusen performance on the night.
With Florian Wirtz missing a third consecutive game due to school obligations, Nadiem Amiri continues to feature behind the loan striker. The German international was superb against Frankfurt, but he had a tough time breaking down Union’s stubborn defence. There was also a report of racial abuse towards him that’s going to be investigated by DFB. However, Amiri accepted the apology issued by Union’s defender Florian Hubner.
When and where to watch?
The match kicks off at 19:30 on Tuesday 19th January 2021 and the entire match is available on BT Sport.
Dortmund can start next season preparation
The first season under Lucien Favre promised much. And throw in the fact that the club followed it by keeping star players and securing great transfers to bolster the squad. The likes of Mats Hummels and Emre Can were ideal signings to add experience and steel to the side.
As usual, there were also some fantastic young recruitments by Michael Zorc and co. All in all, Dortmund were expected to grow by every season, but the reality hits different. After losing the title on the final day in his first season at Signal Iduna, Favre failed to live up to expectations ever since.
There was never a balance between the team’s fluid nature and Favre’s tactical acumen. The 5-1 home defeat against Stuttgart was the final straw as his assistant Edin Terzic was hired as caretaker manager until the end of the season. Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marco Rose is reportedly on top of Dortmund’s wishlist to replace Favre.
Terzic had a good start, especially with the side’s superb second-half display at Leipzig. However, they dropped more points at home as Mainz battled to earn a hard-fought draw on Saturday. There were chances on both sides late on as Dortmund rue first half missed chances and Marco Reus’ late off-target penalty.
Bosz targets another win against his former employers
Peter Bosz had a somewhat perplexing time at Dortmund. He had the team flying in Bundesliga with three goals per game for the first seven rounds, but he was sacked after failing to win any of the next eight outings.
After two defeats, Bosz finally gets one over his former club when Leverkusen came from behind in a spectacular 4-3 win against Dortmund last season. It’s also Leverkusen’s first win against Dortmund since 2016. Dortmund scored 25 goals in their last seven games against the Werkself.
Bayer Leverkusen & Borussia Dortmund Team News
Leverkusen only named five outfield players on the bench on Friday. Three of them were defenders with the team’s top scorer Lucas Alario the only attacking option. It was mostly to do with squad depth than injuries, however. For a team fighting in Europe, Leverkusen’s squad is simply not good enough.
Most of the absentees are long-term injuries. Wirtz didn’t spend much time with the team recently, and he also has a knee problem that could still keep him out. The game also comes early for new signing Timothy Fosu Mensah while fellow defenders Santiago Arias, Sven Bender and Mitchell Weiser also on the sidelines.
Terzic also has some injury worries on his side. Axel Witsel will be out for a long spell after he wobbled off at Leipzig. At the same time, Dan-Axel Zagadou picked up another injury setback in the weekend. Gio Reyna and Thorgan Hazard are also currently on the sidelines.
Dortmund to climb up tables?
On the form side, Dortmund are currently well ahead of Leverkusen, who only collected a single point from the last four games. This is a good chance for the Black and Yellows to surpass Leverkusen in the standings. It’s too late for putting up a title race against perennial champions Bayern, however.
|Dortmund to win||6/5 (2.20)||William Hill|
|Dortmund to win 3-1||16/1 (17.00)||SBK|
|Erling Haaland to score||3/4 (1.76)||Unibet|