clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund: Key Matchups

Crucial match at the top of the table in the Bundesliga

AS Monaco FC v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - UEFA Champions League Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

With the international break looming, Borussia Dortmund returns to action this week against Bundesliga heavyweight Bayer Leverkusen.

Dortmund played to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday against Real Madrid. BVB’s last Bundesliga match ended with a 3-1 victory for Dortmund over SC Freiburg.

Bayer Leverkusen defeated Mainz last Saturday, 3-2, scoring a late-winner in second half stoppage time. Leverkusen also played to a midweek tie, drawing Monaco 1-1.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Long balls over the top

Leverkusen’s attack stems from long passes from the back seeking out forwards and attacking midfielders up front. All three of Leverkusen’s goals against Mainz were results of these lofted balls over the top. Sokratis, normally a threatening aerial presence, will have his hands full stopping Leverkusen’s attack.

KEY TO THE GAME: Use Speed and Possession

Dortmund’s speedy attackers will need to outrun the Leverkusen backline for much of the game. By keeping possession, Leverkusen will struggle to find any fluidity in the match and will be disorganized in dealing with Dortmund’s speed. Counter-attacks hurt Leverkusen last weekend against Mainz. BVB’s overwhelming speed will be tough for Bayer to stop.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Chicharito

Well, obviously. But the Mexican striker has been prolific since coming to the Bundesliga and his goal-scoring touch doesn’t seem to have diminished. He scored a hat-trick last time out against Mainz and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get two more against Dortmund. The center backs will need to tighten up in order to contain Chicharito as he seems to always find space no matter how little there really is.

PROJECTED LINEUP:

  • Formation: 4-4-2
  • Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno
  • Defenders: Aleksandar Dragovic, Omer Toprak, Benjamin Henrichs, Wendell
  • Midfielders: Admir Mehmedi, Kevin Kampl, Charles Aranguiz, Julian Brandt
  • Forwards: Kevin Volland, Chicharito

PREDICTION: Dortmund 3-2

Certainly won’t be an easy game for either side with both teams coming off a midweek Champions League match. The defense will be tired and it will reflect on the scoreboard. However, Dortmund’s attacking flare will and speed will ultimately be the deciding factor against a very tough Leverkusen team.