Bundesliga Matchweek 17 preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund (Tue - 20:30h. CET; 19:30h. GMT) - Team news, possible lineups

Bayer Leverkusen take on Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga on Tuesday, with both sides level on points in third and fourth place respectively in the table.

With Bayern Munich extending their gap to seven points ahead of these two teams, neither club can afford to lose this upcoming clash if they are to keep their slim title hopes alive.

Match preview

It would be fair to say that Leverkusen's form has hit the rocks lately; having remained unbeaten in their first 12 league games, they have since lost three and drawn one, with their title hopes almost evaporating in the process.

Despite leading the table prior to their injury-time defeat to Bayern before the winter break, winning the Bundesliga was always going to a huge ask for Peter Bosz's side regardless of how they fared in that match. However, the 57-year-old will still be expected to deliver Champions League football to Leverkusen after narrowly missing out on a top-four position last season.

One point from three matches against Eintracht Frankfurt, Werder Bremen and Union Berlin, whom they lost 1-0 to on Saturday via Cedric Teuchert's late strike, is simply not an acceptable return with those expectations in mind.

There is now huge pressure on Bosz to deliver a positive result against Dortmund, which will not be easy given BVB's array of attacking talent with speed and precision in transition.

However, Dortmund showed that they are far from the finished article under Edin Terzic by drawing 1-1 at home to Mainz 05, who had headed into the game bottom of the league.

Dropping points at home to lesser opposition seems to be a common theme at BVB regardless of who is manager, with it repeatedly being extremely costly in terms of ending their wait for a Bundesliga title.

Levin Oztunali opened the scoring for the visitors before Thomas Meunier's equaliser, with both sides having chances to win the match in the latter stages. As expected, Dortmund dominated the ball, with Erling Braut Haaland's goal disallowed by VAR, but Terzic's side could not find the breakthrough they needed.

A win at Leverkusen would certainly lift the mood, though, with a two-goal victory lifting them above both their forthcoming opponents and RB Leipzig into second place, which is probably the realistic ceiling for Dortmund's domestic campaign this season.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: WWLLDL
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WLLDWL

Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga form: LWLWWD
Borussia Dortmund form (all competitions): WLWWWD

Team News

Leverkusen continue to have awful luck on the injury front, with Karim Bellarabi, Mitchell Weiser, Sven Bender, Exequiel Palacios, Santiago Arias and Paulinho all ruled out for the visit of Dortmund.

Florian Wirtz is an injury doubt, too, with new signing Timothy Fosu-Mensah not available to make his debut due to personal reasons after his move from Manchester United.

Bosz may decide to hand his top goalscorer Lucas Alario a start, with the club's form seemingly dipping since Patrik Schick replaced him in the regular starting XI.

Dortmund, meanwhile, are set to be without Axel Witsel until at least late March after the midfielder underwent Achilles tendon surgery.

Marcel Schmelzer and Thorgan Hazard should return sooner than that, but both remain unavailable for the trip to Leverkusen.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Bender, Tah, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Amiri, Baumgartlinger, Demirbay; Diaby, Alario, Bailey

Borussia Dortmund possible starting lineup:
Burki; Meunier, Akanji, Hummels, Guerreiro; Can, Delaney; Sancho, Reus, Reyna; Haaland

Source: Sports Mole / Brett Curtis    




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