A huge match in the Bundesliga, as the league leaders take on fifth placed Leverkusen. No side is in better form than the visitors, could this be the decisive game in the German title race?
League looks like the focus now
Leverkusen may be absolutely flying in the league, but they have had a torrid few weeks in terms of their cup progression. On Thursday night they were dumped out of The Europa League on away goals after a 1-1 home draw with Russian side FC Krasnodar in what was one of the real surprise results of the round of 32. Add this to their exit from the DFB Cup to second tier Heidenheim and you can see why many fans have been left frustrated as their season’s potential dwindles rapidly. Die Werkself are 15 points behind table toppers Dortmund but cans till qualify for The Champions League, particularly if they keep up their fantastic run of league form.
With just one defeat in their last six, Leverkusen top the form table, edging out Bayern Munich as a result of their goal difference over that period, which was boosted by a superb 3-1 win over Bayern themselves.
For Dortmund the last few weeks have been tough, three consecutive draws in the Bundesliga has allowed Bayern to claw back the gap, and now The Black Yellow will be looking over their shoulder. Couple that frustrating league run with exiting the DFB Cup to Werder Bremen and losing the first leg of their Champions League tie 3-0 to Tottenham and you could be forgiven for believing that pressure is getting to Dortmund’s young squad. A slip up is best backed through Leverkusen draw no bet at a price of 3.2.
Injury blows for Dortmund
Dortmund are without Lukasz Piszczek for this encounter, which means either Marcelo Schmezler or Abdou Diallo will need to fill in at left back, with Achraf Hakimi playing right back. The choice at left back also depends on whether or not Manuel Akanji starts after his return from injury, his direct replacements are the prior mentioned Diallo or Omer Toprak.
The biggest miss the continued absence of Marco Reus, what he brings to the side was very noticeable against Spurs as Dortmund missed the link between their attack and midfield. His goals and assists have been crucial in this campaign, but his overall effect on the team is so much greater. Max Phillip is expected to be his replacement this game, but Dortmund could shuffle any combination of Phillip, Mario Gotze, Paco Alcacer and Jacob Bruun Larsen around to best suit their needs. Chelsea bound Christian Pulisic is set to miss out as well.
Leverkusen on the other hand are bolstered by returning faces. Lars Bender is fit again and could come in at right back, he’ll have his work cut out against Raphael Guerreiro who has been superb in recent weeks despite some of Dortmund’s struggles. Julian Baumgartlinger should start in an anchoring midfield role, which frees up Charles Aranguiz and the dangerous Kai Havertz to play further forward.
All the stats point to goals
No side in the Bundesliga see’s more goals on average a game than Dortmund, third on that list is Leverkusen. On average in their games there have been 3.5 and 3.23 goals respectively. In addition to this, there has been over 2.5 goals in 13 of Dortmund’s last 14 home games, and in their last three home meetings with Sunday’s opponents Dortmund have scored three goals on each occasion. Couple these stats with Leverkusen’s excellent form and it’s a recipe for a cracker, in their last four fixtures the visitors have won by at least two goals in each fixture. Over 2.5 goals is priced at 1.45, you can stretch to over 3.5 at 2.25.
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.45
Paco Alcacer to score anytime @ 2.1
Both teams to score @ 1.45