Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

Bayer Leverkusen host Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday, with the two sides separated by a point in the 2020-21 Bundesliga table.

Gladbach narrowly edged out their forthcoming opponents in securing the last Champions League qualification spot on the final day of last season, so this will be seen as a huge match by both managers and sets of fans.

After drawing their opening three matches of the season, Leverkusen have since won three league matches in a row to fly up the table.

Having sold forwards Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland to Chelsea and Monaco respectively in the summer transfer window, there were understandable teething problems early in the season even if Peter Bosz's side did remain unbeaten.

Patrik Schick, who spent last season on loan at RB Leipzig, was brought in from Roma in an attempt to replace some of the goals the club had lost with the two aforementioned departures, but the Czech Republic striker's injury has instead opened the door for Lucas Alario to prove his mettle.

Indeed, the Argentine forward's brace in last weekend's thrilling 4-2 win at Freiburg was his second in two successive matches to extend his tally to five league goals in five appearances. Leverkusen rode their luck at times throughout the victory, with Lucas Holer in excellent form for the hosts and Sven Bender's red card being downgraded to a yellow after a VAR check, but ultimately had a little too much for their opponents.

Bosz's side certainly have plenty of firepower at present - as they showed in another 4-2 victory away to Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the Europa League on Thursday - which will certainly keep Gladbach on their toes throughout a key battle on Sunday.

Gladbach, meanwhile, are also in excellent form having won three of their last four league matches, with an excellent 1-0 victory over Leipzig last weekend securing another three points.

Marco Rose's side looked like taking the lead when Dayot Upamecano's attempted pass into midfield was intelligently intercepted by Patrick Herrmann, who perhaps passed a little too late to Alassane Plea in a dangerous two-on-one situation, with the French striker's effort struck tamely down the throat of Peter Gulasci.

However, Hannes Wolf, on loan from Leipzig, fired into the far post to give Gladbach the lead after Plea's cross was cleverly teed into Wolf's path by Herrmann. Plea later struck the post with Gladbach's lead only ever looking like being extended in a surprisingly comfortable victory against a top-four rival.

Rose's side backed up that win by recording their largest ever European victory with a 6-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Plea was in tremendous form, scoring a hat-trick, with Gladbach now in a commanding position to progress to the knockout stages for the first time in the club's history.

Attention must now return to domestic matters, however, with avoiding losing ground on Leverkusen the primary aim of Sunday's meeting.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: DDDWWW
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WWWLWW

Borussia Monchengladbach Bundesliga form: LDWDWW
Borussia Monchengladbach form (all competitions): DDWDWW

Team News

Leverkusen will remain without Paulinho and Santiago Arias for the foreseeable future after their cruciate ligament rupture and fibula fracture respectively.

Schick is still absent with a torn muscle, so Alario will continue to lead the line in his absence. Bosz will be hoping the Argentine can fire his side to another victory.

Jordan Beyer is absent until after the international break due to coronavirus, while Denis Zakaria is still struggling with fitness issues and is unlikely to feature. Andreas Poulsen remains out with a shoulder injury.

Marcus Thuram is likely to start having only come on as a substitute in the win against Leipzig last week.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; L. Bender, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven; Wirtz, Baumgartlinger, Amiri; Bailey, Alario, Diaby

Borussia Monchengladbach possible starting lineup:
Sommer; Lainer, Ginter, Elvedi, Bensebaini; Hofmann, Neuhaus; Herrmann, Stindl, Thuram; Plea

Source: SportsMole 


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