Bundesliga Preview: Bayer Leverkusen Vs Borussia Dortmund

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  • Bundesliga Preview: Bayer Leverkusen Vs Borussia Dortmund

Bundesliga Preview: Bayer Leverkusen Vs Borussia Dortmund

Make or break time for Leverkusen!

The Bundesliga has returned after the winter break and the first match after the break is between the league leaders, Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.

For the second consecutive season, Leverkusen have made a very strong start to the season, and are currently sitting on third place with 33 points. They are level on points with Mainz, and 10 points separate both sides from Borussia Dortmund.

Leverkusen are taking the league’s best side on home soil and have a great chance of cutting Dortmund’s lead short with a win. A win on Friday is vital for Leverkusen also because a loss will surely end their chances to lift the Bundesliga title.

Last season, during the same time period, Bayer Leverkusen were leading the Bundesliga standings and were clear cut favorites to win the title, but a poor second half of the season saw them loose their grip on the title as they finished the season on 4th place.

In contrast to the previous years when Leverkusen have traditionally stuttered in the second half of the season, there is reason to believe that Leverkusen might have enough about them to rise to the occasion this time. Summer signing, Michael Ballack is yet to reach peak fitness, but is on his way to full recovery after sustaining multiple injuries. Simon Rolfes, Gonzalo Castro, Renato Augusto and Stefan Kiessling are all 100% fit, which means that for the first time in ages, Jupp Heynckes will have a full squad at his disposal.

The spring session of the current season can be a very good one for Leverkusen if the physical conditions remain ideal. The first Bundesliga title in over 18 years is still within reach for Bayer Leverkusen if the Die Werself can fulfill the potential everyone knows they have.

After barely missing a point throughout the first half of season, Borussia Dortmund seem to be on a roll. Sitting comfortably with a 10 point lead on top, and 14 ahead of reigning champions, Bayern Munich, Dortmund look like they mean business this time. Almost 70% of the Bundesliga coaches have already labeled the Ruhr side favorites for winning the Bundesliga crown. But there are 17 games to go and Borussia Dortmund has to go through many obstacles before fulfilling the prophecy.

Borussia Dortmund, however, will have to keep playing without the services of their talismanic playmaker, Shinji Kagawa, who is with the Japanese side in Qatar at the moment, in his quest to help the Blue Samurais lift the Asian crown. The 21-year old has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga so far and will be missing 3 matches for his side to be in Qatar. It still remains to be seen which player will step up to replace Shinji Kagawa in terms of performances and impact on the field. Coach, Juergen Klopp has been very coy on this issue but claims that Tamas Hajnal, Mohamed Zidan and Mario Goetze are the best candidates to fill in for the Japanese international.

On a positive note, Klopp’s side easily won a friendly match against Swiss side, Basel 4-0 recently, to show that even without the talismanic Kagawa, they are more than able to dispose-off teams.

Extra pressure would be on Nuri Sahin as he will be looking to do most of the playmaking role without Kagawa by his side.

Lucas Barrios has been declared fit to play and Mohamed Zidan is also in contention for a starting place.

 

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