Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen – Saturday 11th February – Westfalenstadion (16:30)
German Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund moved top of the table last week after Bayern Munich slipped up earning only a point away to Hamburg. The defending champions will now look to carry on their superb form and pull away from Munich. This weekend they have it all to do as they host Bayer Leverkusen.
Dortmund moved to the top spot with a 2-0 away win over Nurnberg. The champions left it until the second half of the match to score, with goals from Captain Sebastian Kehl and substitute Lucas Barrios. They are now on a 14 match unbeaten run that stretches from September of last year. After a shaky start to the season they have showed why they were crowned champions last season by consistently giving good performances week in and week out and are on course to retain their league title. Dortmund have showed their class by doing without their star Mario Goetze who was instrumental in their title win last season. Robert Lewandowski has been in sublime form this season and the striker has scored a staggering 18 times already in the current campaign from 27 appearances. He has proved his credentials in the absence of Lucas Barrios, who was out with injury for most part of the first six months, and is now the first choice striker at the club. Leverkusen will be wary of Dortmund’s intimidating home form. They have lost just 1 match, drawn 1 and have won 13, averaging almost 3 goals per game with 26 scored. Their defence have also been solid conceding just 6 goals in 15 matches at home.
Leverkusen find themselves in 6th position, 12 points off Dortmund. They were unlucky to draw 2-2 with Stuttgart last weekend after conceding a late goal. It’s been a disappointing season for the big club who finished runners-up behind Dortmund last season and they are still trying to get back to that excellent form. Striker Eren Derdiyok of Switzerland has been ruled out for several weeks after stepping on a piece of glass at his home and needing seven stitches. It’s a big blow as he will also miss their Champions League clash against Barcelona next week. Leverkusen’s main problem this season has been scoring goals and perhaps with their first choice striker out one of their lesser known talented youngsters can rise to the occasion. Leverkusen have the experience of Michael Ballack to call upon and his presence could help lift the Leverkusen players’ mindset at Dortmund’s intimidating 80 000 capacity stadium.
Leverkusen managed a 2-0 win here last season and were the only team to have won at Dortmund throughout the whole season. They are coming off 2 draws and will prove difficult to break down and are tipped to hold Dortmund to a draw here.