clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Match Preview: Dortmund take on Leverkusen in season-defining match

Another battle in the war for top four.

Atalanta v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund will be hosting Bayer Leverkusen this Saturday for this week’s Bundesliga matchday. The game is set to be an interesting one to watch, as both Dortmund and Leverkusen are top teams in Germany, and both have a huge reason to fight to the bitter end.

Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund are both level on points in the Bundesliga, each having earned 51 after 30 league matches. Leverkusen lies in 3rd place with a barely superior goal difference while Dortmund sits in 4th waiting to leapfrog their neighbors to the southwest.

Bayer Leverkusen are coming off a disheartening 6-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal semifinal. Their league matches before that, however, include a two solid 4-1 victories, both coming against RB Leipzig first and Eintracht Frankfurt less than a week later. This is definitely cause for concern, as Leipzig and Frankfurt are both very strong teams that aren’t easy to dispatch, yet it seems Leverkusen did it with ease.

Last week, BVB lost 2-0 in an embarrassing edition of the famous yet typically one-sided Revierderby. Schalke have been a much better side this season and they clearly showed their quality against a Dortmund side that has struggled to find its identity this season.

Opposition to watch out for

Kevin Volland

After a long goalscoring drought for the German international, he’s hit good form recently, scoring a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt, and getting one against RB Leipzig. He’s combined well with the wingers around him to not only create, but to finish. Stöger’s chosen center-back pairing will have to be wary of Volland.

Julian Brandt

The young German surprised the footballing world when he signed a contract extension with Bayer Leverkusen, but with his form this season, it’s no wonder the club was eager to get his signature.

He scored a goal against Frankfurt before recording a goal and an assist against Leipzig. Marcel Schmelzer, while he is one of my favorite players at the club, has been defensively poor this season so we can only hope he pulls out the big guns to contain the on-fire Julian Brandt.

Leon Bailey

This kid has been a joy to watch all season, and if you have been tracking his progress at Leverkusen then his appearance on this list should come as no surprise to you. He combines dribbling skills with a good ability to cross the ball, and it makes for a deadly winger.

The Jamaican international most recently scored a free kick against Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal semifinal, showing he can step up to the plate for set pieces as well. If I had to pick one word to describe him it would be dangerous. Łukasz Piszczek will have his work cut out for him with this youngster.

Sven Bender

He hasn’t been amazing or anything. I just think you should watch him, he’s a pretty cool guy.

Some thoughts

With Michy Batshuayi out injured, one of the questions being asked by most Dortmund fans is “Who is going to start in the striker position?” Not many people have a lot of faith in Isak to take up the mantle of responsibility due to his limited playing time, but an article by Deutsche Welle cites that Stöger is either considering the young Swede or perhaps one Dortmund’s pacey wingers, namely Reus. The most likely option is that Reus will play up top with Maximilian Philipp deployed in the left wing position since André Schürrle is a doubt for this Saturday. This also means that since Philipp and Reus can play both the left wing and striker positions, they will most likely be switching positions fairly often to try and throw off the opposition defense.

This game is going to be a tough one to win. Leverkusen has done well this season and has just as much of a reason to fight as Dortmund does. Their formidable attack will crash on Dortmund’s suspect defense and ultimately it might come down to if Bürki is going to turn into Iker Casillas quality or if he is going to look like your average Sunday league goalkeeper who gets in a game before his shift at Denny’s starts. I swear, there is no in between with him.

Predicted Score

2-1 loss. I don’t see us beating Leverkusen, especially with Batshuayi out injured. I hope I’m wrong, but Leverkusen’s attack has looked great lately.