Leverkusen face a huge test with an away trip to Leipzig on Matchday 18 to close out Saturday’s games.
Despite totalling 46 shots over their last two league games, Leipzig have only picked up one point including a disappointing draw to Frankfurt on Matchday 17. However, the Red Bull club still sit in the Champions League places and have an array of talent that can stand up to Leverkusen.
Similarly to Bayer, they’ll likely go with a back three with advanced full-backs David Raum and Benjamin Henrichs high on the wings. It’s still unclear who will play alongside Xavi Simons and Lois Openda, as Marco Rose hinted in his presser that Dani Olmo could start this weekend.
When asked about Xabi Alonso, Rose said, “He’s a great guy, but above all, he’s a winner. He’d do anything to win, he radiates that aura. He’s passed this winning DNA, which he undoubtedly picked up during his playing days, down to his team.”
Willi Orban returned to training, but he still isn’t ready to go for Saturday’s contest. Amadou Haidara is out of the squad due to AFCON.
World-class Bayer are coming off a very narrow win over Augsburg and are missing some key players at AFCON. But, confidence of course remains high for the side who are still incredibly unbeaten in all competitions this season.
Florian Wirtz is expected to return to the starting eleven alongside Jonas Hofmann, who will both sit behind former Leipzig player Patrik Schick. Josip Stanisic and Piero Hincapie should continue in a back three alongside Jonathan Tah.
Leverkusen need to win or else they could be jumped in the table by Bayern, who will replay their Matchday 13 contest against Union Berlin on Wednesday.
On their unbeaten run, Alonso stated, “It’s still not my focus. It doesn’t matter how we win games or how many in a row. We are happy with it of course. But, we always focus on the next game and that is Leipzig.”
Amine Adli, Edmond Tapsoba and Odilon Kossounou are away at the AFCON, while Victor Boniface and Arthur are out with injuries. Tah is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend, but will face a suspension if he earns one more yellow card.