Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen: Preview and Prediction

Borussia Dortmund will look to concentrate following a thrilling midweek victory when they welcome unbeaten Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen to Signal Iduna Park on Sunday.

Borussia Dortmund advanced to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time since the 2012/13 following a rip-roaring 5-4 aggregate triumph over Atletico Madrid, and they will look to continue the momentum against newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen.

However, the Black and Yellows are not guaranteed to compete in next year’s competition, and they are hoping for a statement win against the unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen juggernaut at home on Sunday afternoon.

While Dortmund’s Champions League exploits has been admirable, last season’s Bundesliga runners-up have failed to maintain consistency in the league, having lost their grip on fourth spot to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga on goal difference.

There remains a good chance that both teams will get a Champions League ticket via the expanded tournament, handing out the best two performing leagues an extra spot based on their coefficient rating from the previous campaign, with as many as four English teams now out of the three European competitions.

Following Thursday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham United, Xabi Alonso’s men have gone undefeated in 44 games in the 2023/24 season, the longest stretch by any European team, surpassing Juventus’s 43 from May 2011 to May 2012.

Their 5-0 victory over Werder Bremen not only equaled the Old Lady’s accomplishment, but also secured the club’s first-ever Bundesliga honour, and they intend to avoid complacency in this amazing, unblemished season. Die Werkself may have won the Bundesliga. But the club’s quest to win a treble this season and become the first-ever invincible side in Germany remains high on the agenda.

Team News & Tactics

Borussia Dortmund

The home side will once again be without the services of Ramy Bensebaini (knee), Sebastien Haller (ankle), and most likely Donyell Malen (knee), while Karim Adeyemi is suspended after he received a red card in the 2-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach last time out.

Gregor Kobel is a guaranteed starter in between the sticks, with the hosts lining up in Eden Terzic’s tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 formation. Ian Maatsen scored his first Champions League goal this week, and the Chelsea loanee should keep his position at left back. Julian Ryerson, Mats Hummels, and Nico Schlotterbeck should be the other members of the back-four.

As for the midfield unit, Terzic is expected to lean on Marcel Sabitzer, who will partner Emre Can in the double-pivot. English winger Jamie Bynoe-Gittens should start in Malen’s absence. He will be partnered by Julian Brandt and Jadon Sancho in the creative trifecta, just in behind central striker Niclas Fullkrug.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Kobel; Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Maatsen; Sabitzer, Can; Sancho, Brandt, Bynoe-Gittens; Fullkrug

Bayer Leverkusen

Arthur is nearing a return after recovering from a thigh injury, while Adam Hlozek suffered an ankle injury and is ruled out. Amine Adli is out serving a one-match ban after picking up five yellow cards.

Xabi Alonso will continue to opt for the 3-4-2-1 formation and could make a few changes to his starting XI for this game. Lukas Hradecky will feature in goal. Edmond Tapsoba will play along with Jonathan Tah and Odinol Kossounou at the centre of Bayer Leverkusen’s backline.

Wing-backs Alejandro Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong have been in excellent form this season and will look to cause problems for the BVB defence on Sunday. Granit Xhaka will be partnered by Robert Andrich in the midfield double-pivot.

Florian Wirtz is coming off a stunning hat-trick against Werder Bremen, while Victor Boniface has picked up where he left off since returning from injury and could replace Patrik Schick up front here.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Hradecky; Tapsoba, Tah, Kossounou; Frimpong, Andrich, Xhaka, Grimaldo; Hofmann, Wirtz; Boniface

Key Stats

  • Bayer Leverkusen have won their last ten Bundesliga matches.
  • Die Werkself have lost seven of their last eight visits to Signal Iduna Park and have not beaten BVB in three consecutive league meetings.
  • Borussia Dortmund are fifth in the Bundesliga for goals scored with 57 in 29 games, while Bayer Leverkusen boast the meanest defence, having allowed just 19 in 29 games.
  • Bayer Leverkusen puts up 2.6 goals per game to rank second in the Bundesliga, while Borussia Dortmund give up 1.2 per match to rank third.
  • Bayer Leverkusen are the first team in Bundesliga history to still be unbeaten 29 games into a season. Their 44-match run in all competitions, meanwhile, is a new European record.

Player to Watch

Florian Wirtz

Embed from Getty Images

Florian Wirtz is the latest player tipped in Germany for Ballon d’Or success in 2024, and it is easy to see why. Wirtz has been viewed as the next big thing to come out of Germany for a few years now. But his progress was hampered by an injury suffered in March 2022 that kept him out for the rest of the year.

Given how difficult it is to return to the top level after an ACL problem, this campaign has been otherworldly. The 20-year-old has 17 goals and 18 assists in all competitions as Bayer Leverkusen mount a shock treble charge.

He will likely hit the 20-mark for both goals and assists by the time the 2023/24 season draws to a close, while he has been the pivotal part of a historic Bayer Leverkusen team that could yet win a treble this season.


Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen

While many observers would be wondering just how much Bayer Leverkusen’s title celebrations and the midweek Europa League game against West Ham United had taken out of them, Borussia Dortmund’s incredible UEFA Champions League win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday was as exhausting as it was exhilarating.

But Edin Terzic’s men will have 48 hours more rest in their legs. With both sides likely to feel the rigours of midweek exploits, this could turn out to be an entertaining contest with plenty of goalmouth action. The all-conquering Bundesliga champions should still escape defeat in Dortmund, even though they may not be able to secure maximum points.

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