Borussia Dortmund host Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon at the Signal Iduna Park, with both sides needing a victory after earning only one win from their two games.
Bundesliga Champions Dortmund got off to a great start with a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen, before having to settle for a point in the 1-1 draw against an aggressive FC Nürnberg, where Polish Skipper Kuba pounced to cancel out Tomas Pekhart’s earlier header.
BVB struggled with the defensive FCN tactics, as fouls broke up the contest, frustrating the visitors. In fact Dieter Hecking’s men deserved at least a point, but to be fair neither side deserved to take the other two.
Die Schwarzgelben were “missing the final punch”, as Coach Jürgen Klopp put it. But Robert Lewandowski and Kuba were lively in attack, despite Marco Reus’ lack of involvement. At the back Neven Subotic was on form, but defensive partner Matts Hummels looked vulnerable.
Leverkusen comfortably coasted to a 2-0 home win over SC Freiburg with Gonzalo Castro and Philipp Wollscheid finding the net, but all in honesty the visitors failed to threat Bernd Leno in goals. That was Bayer 04’s first victory of the season, where former Real Madrid youngster Daniel Carvajal put in a solid debut performance for Die Werkself in defence, after a shock 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the opening round.
But the Bundesliga has had two weeks off because of the international break, where Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer, Mario Gӧtze, Hummels and Reus helped Germany defeat Austria 2-1 in Vienna. Reus though was forced to withdraw at half-time with a foot injury, but the 23-year-old has been given the all clear to take on Leverkusen.
Lewandowski, Lukasz Piszczek and Kuba also started for Poland, the latter scoring from the spot in a 2-0 win over Moldova.
Bayer’s Lars Bender and Andre Schürrle though didn’t get off the bench in Vienna, unlike Hajime Hosogai did just for just one minute in Japan, while Ömer Toprak was victorious for Turkey not like Michal Kadlec for the Czechs.
Bayer will be the fresher of the two sides, but BVB will strong in front of a huge crowd with Reus, Kuba and Lewandowski threatening with every touch of the ball.
Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypiä understands that Dortmund are dangerous on the counter.
We’ve got to be fully focussed as Dortmund are very good at switching play and are really strong on the break. So we’ve got to be ready to be very aggressive.
The former Leverkusen and Liverpool defender also believes confidence will play its part.
We’ve got to go to Dortmund with bags of confidence if we want to win there.
But the hosts might have one eye on the first Champions League group stage tie with Ajax on Tuesday evening, while Leverkusen will be fully focused on taking the three points, before hosting Metalist Kharkiv in the Europa League.
Dortmund can expect Bayer’s defence to be strong, especially after adding Carvajal and Wollscheid over the summer, while Die Mannschaft forward Schürrle and Stefan Kiessling will be up to their usual dangerous selves.
In fact Dortmund boss Jürgen Klopp said Bayer are “a traditionally strong footballing team” and that “Leverkusen can be counted amongst the Championship favourites.”
Klopp continued to show his admiration for the Leverkusen side while understanding the difficulty.
Bayer Leverkusen has an exceptionally good team. This will be a really difficult game
Leverkusen edge Dortmund on the head-to-head, with 24 wins to BVB’s 23 from their 66 games, but Bayer 04 have only beaten Dortmund seven times at the Signal Iduna Park, an important factor when deciding who to place your bets on.
Potential Line ups:
Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller – Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer – Gündogan, Kehl – Kuba, Reus, Grosskreutz – Lewandowski
Bayer Leverkusen: Leno – Carvajal, Wollscheid, Toprak, Kadlec – Reinartz, Bender, Rolfes – Castro, Schürrle – Kiessling
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