The battle to finish in the Bundesliga’s top four will come to a head on Saturday when fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund host third-placed Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Date: 21 April 2018
Match Day 31
Kick-off: 18H30 local time/00h30 HKT
Referee: M. Schmidt
Assistants: C. Gunsch, M. Emmer
Fourth official: C. Bandurski
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Dortmund 77 28 22 27
Leverkusen 77 27 22 28
Leverkusen 1-1 Dortmund 02/12/17 (Bundesliga)
Leverkusen goalscorers: K. Volland (30′)
Dortmund goalscorers: A. Yarmolenko (73′)
Players to watch
With Michy Batshuayi out of action, Dortmund will be hoping the likes of Maximilian Philipp and Andriy Yarmolenko will pick up the slack in the goal-scoring department, while young striker Alexander Isak may be given a rare start.
Leverkusen will be looking to Kevin Volland, Leon Bailey, and Julian Brandt to continue their goalscoring form. The trio have scored 37 goals between them in all competitions, while providing 17 assists.
Team form and manager quotes
The BVB have been struggling for consistency in their recent fixtures and will need to bounce back quickly after suffering a derby defeat at the hands of FC Schalke, who beat them 2-0 last weekend.
Peter Stoger’s side beat Eintracht Frankfurt and Hannover 96 but were then handed a humbling 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich. They recovered with a 3-0 win over Stuttgart, but came up short at Schalke, which saw them drop to fourth in the standings.
“We have these four games left. It’s about [qualifying for] the Champions League and focusing on that – not on individuals,” Stoger told the press ahead of the game.
“The club has time to react. I’m not making any pressure, not making any stress. If we get to the Champions League everything is fine, regardless of how it continues.”
Meanwhile, Leverkusen will be hoping to put their 6-2 DFB-Pokal semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday behind them by claiming three points at Dortmund.
Prior to the cup defeat, Die Werkself were on a good run of form which saw them beat RB Leipzig 4-1 before seeing off Frankfurt by the same scoreline in their most recent Bundesliga outing.
Speaking after the heavy defeat to Bayern in the cup, Leverkusen manager Heiko Herrlich stated: “They really smashed us today, it hurts, it annoys me. Bayern have the quality, they were very efficient. They became ecstatic, it’s impressive that they don’t ease off. They have this hunger, this greed.”
Dortmund and Leverkusen are level on points, four adrift second-placed Schalke, but it’s the latter who have a superior goal difference heading into the game.
— SHINJI KAGAWA / 香川真司 (@S_Kagawa0317) April 20, 2018
Dortmund will be missing striker Michy Batshuayi and attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa.
Leverkusen have two suspended players in Lars Bender and Lucas Alario, while Wendell is out injured.