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Bundesliga Wannabees Vie for Greater Glory


Bundesliga Wannabees Vie for Greater Glory

Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Dortmund

The Bundesliga wannabees – but are either side really ready to take the German crown from perennial champions Bayern Munich?

The table suggests not and, certainly, if either team was to lose this fixture, would risk falling too far back to mount a title challenge in the second half of the campaign.

Yet where there is hope, there is a chance and with Bayern being far from as ruthless as last term (although still mightily impressive), there is a glimmer for both Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund.

Talking Points

Leverkusen last week signed a player this SBOTOP writer believes could be destined for the very top and it will be interesting whether young Dutch defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah, signed from Manchester United, is handed his debut by coach Peter Bosz.

The third-place hosts really do need all three points after losing ground on leaders Bayern and RB Leipzig with a 1-0 reverse at high-flying Union Berlin last week – not that they were ever going to get a free pass.

They are also without success in their last four league encounters – with tough losses against Bayern and Eintracht Frankfurt, alongside a draw with Werder Bremen.

That they are still in third place is because, the following day, Dortmund were held at home by lowly Mainz.

Marco Reus missed a second-half penalty in a 1-1 draw in which they fell behind to a Leven Öztunali strike before a first Dortmund goal for Thomas Meunier earned a point.

There’s no doubt that result was a setback for Dortmund, who recently appointed Edin Terzic as manager until the end of the season following the departure of Lucien Favre just before Christmas.

The draw also came hot on the heels of a 3-1 win at second-placed RB Leipzig when Erling Braut Haaland netted twice and showed why he could be the key man if Dortmund are to mount a charge.

So, level on points and with plenty on the line, I think we can expect Bundesliga highlights at the BayArena on Tuesday night.

While Leverkusen are realistically not expected to challenge for the Bundesliga crown, they have certainly caught the eye under Bosz who has also guided his side through to the knockout stages of the Europa League, topping their group with five wins and one defeat, despite being without South American quartet Charles Aranguiz, Santiago Arias, Exequiel Palacios and Paulinho.

If he maintains this progress, it makes you wonder if the club, in a few years’ time, may face a battle to hold onto his services in the dugout.

Certainly, a win against Dortmund would further cement his growing reputation.

History

It was in October 1951 in the former Oberliga West when these sides first met. On that occasion, Dortmund led 2-0 before Leverkusen fought back to earn a draw.

Since 1979, all their meetings have come in the top flight and Dortmund have had the edge, both in those games and overall with 42 victories compared to Leverkusen’s 31. A further 25 matches have ended level.

Last season this fixture was a goal-fest as Leverkusen won a seven-goal thriller.

Despite twice trailing, they came back to record a 4-3 success with two goals in two minutes from Leon Bailey and Lars Bender sealing victory after a Kevin Volland double had kept them in the hunt.

Mats Hummels, Emre Can and Raphael Guerreiro were on target for Dortmund.

It was revenge for the hosts who had been thumped 4-0 in the earlier fixture in Dortmund when Paco Alcacer, Marco Reus (two) and Guerreiro was the marksmen.

Leverkusen have only won one of their last seven clashes.

Betting Tip

Total Goals 4-6 @ 2.62

As you would probably expect, Dortmund have the edge with the Bundesliga betting odds, but there’s not much in it.

You can back them to bounce back from their draw with Mainz either 1X2 @ 2.19 or Asian Handicap – 0.25 @ 1.93.

If you fancy Leverkusen to edge this one, then look no further than 1X2 @ 2.92 or Asian Handicap +0.25 @ 2.00.

The draw – which may be considered a likely result given the fact they are only separated by goal difference in the table – is on offer 1X2 @ 3.70.

If there is to be a repeat of last season’s thriller – correct score 4-3 – you are set for a whopping payout of @ 125.00.

Perhaps, more realistically, you can get odds of total goal 2-3 @ 2.09. total goal 4-6 @ 2.62 and over 3.00 @ 1.91.

I’m going to go for plenty of goals again here. It’s probably me being a little gung-ho but I will opt for total goals 4-6 @ 2.62 as my ** prediction.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 


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