Bayer Leverkusen v Werder Bremen
The Bundesliga table is starting to take shape as we enter the seventh matchday. Although Union Berlin and Freiburg are sitting first and second, one of the bigger surprises is that Bayer Leverkusen are down in the relegation zone with just four points from a possible 18. On Saturday afternoon, Gerardo Seoane faces a must win game against Werder Bremen, otherwise he risks becoming the third coach to lose his job.
With an attack comprising of Moussa Diaby, Adam Hložek and Callum Hudson-Odoi behind Patrik Schick, Bayer Leverkusen are always fun to watch, but they’ve been incredibly unlucky this season. They’ve outperformed their xG in three of their last five games across all competitions and they do come into this game following an impressive 2-0 win against Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. Hudson Odoi, on loan from Chelsea, produced an excellent display and was involved in the build-up for both goals, and substitute Jeremie Frimpong created two goals in a 21-minute cameo.
But it’s defensively where Bayer Leverkusen have their problems. Only three teams have lost the ball more than Bayer Leverkusen (93) in their own half, whilst they’re also leading the way for the most red cards this season (3). ‘Keeper Lukas Hradecky is also prone to making a mistake and B04 have only kept 2 clean sheets in 9 games. 5 of Bayer Leverkusen’s last 6 Bundesliga games has finished with over 2.5 goals.
Operating in a 3-5-2, Werder Bremen have won 2 of their last 4 Bundesliga games and are an exciting team to watch with Niclas Fullkrug, who has scored 5 in 6 games this season, alongside Marvin Ducksch in attack. However, Ole Werner hasn’t deviated from his 3-5-2 this season but this should favour Bayer Leverkusen. Diaby and Hudson-Odoi will look to attack the half-spaces, allowing Frimpong to overlap from full-back, whilst the midfield double-pivot look to cover.
I expect this to be an entertaining game, but Seoane has the backing of the players and they come into this with an impressive display in Madrid, I fancy Bayer Leverkusen to pick up their second Bundesliga win.
Borussia Dortmund v Schalke
After a one-year absence, the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke makes a return this weekend. BVB have won their last three meetings against Schalke and historically, this meeting always produces goals with 5 of the last 6 finishing with Over 2.5. But Schalke will look to get one over Borussia Dortmund after a derby victory over neighbouring Bochum last weekend and despite recent meetings, this fixture is typically closely fought.
Borussia Dortmund come into this weekend’s game with an impressive display at Manchester City in midweek, keeping Pep Guardiola’s side from having a shot on goal until the 80th minute. Questionable defensive substitutes resulted in a defeat on Wednesday night as Erling Haaland scored a winner four minutes later. Post-match, Edin Terzic, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels all praised their midweek performance and they’ll be looking to make amends for their 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga the prior weekend.
Signed as a replacement for Sebastien Haller, Anthony Modeste has started the last five Bundesliga games for Borussia Dortmund, but the Frenchman has disappointed. His commitment can’t be faulted but with just one goal, heavy touches and Donyell Malen returning against Manchester City, we could see a different attack on Saturday, with Youssoufa Moukoko potentially starting.
As for Schalke, what you see is what you get. With Simon Terodde or Sebastian Polter leading the line at any one time, complimented by Marius Bulter, Dominick Drexler and Jordan Larsson in a 4-2-3-1, Kramer’s S04 are an incredibly hard-working team. Only 5 teams initiate a press more than Schalke do.
Borussia Dortmund have scored in 37 Bundesliga games in a row at home and they haven’t drawn 0-0 at home since October 2019. BVB have the better quality but S04 won’t give up bragging rights that easy. Expect this to be a feisty affair with Over 2.5 goals.
Borussia Monchengladbach v RB Leipzig
Domenico Tedesco was the first Bundesliga managerial casualty of the season and RB Leipzig moved quick to appoint former Borussia Monchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund coach Marco Rose. His tenure couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with an impressive 3-0 win against Borussia Dortmund. That win put them to within one point of Saturday’s opponents, who themselves have started well under a new coach, Daniel Farke.
In his two games so far, against Dortmund and Real Madrid, Rose has opted for his favoured 4-2-3-1, as used at both of his previous clubs. His teams are very reliant when it comes to pressing the ball and this could work in favour against a possession based Farke side. Against Borussia Dortmund, Leipzig created 11 chances, the joint most in their Bundesliga campaign so far. They also outperformed their xG by 1.49 goals. In their two games under Rose, Leipzig have impressed but they’ve had a busy schedule, given their participation in the Supercup vs Bayern Munich and therefore a later Pokal games. Meanwhile, Gladbach have been able to rest.
Farke was mindful that he needed to work on Gladbach’s defence. They will however be without summer arrival Ko Itakura, who suffered a PCL injury in training that will keep him out for several weeks. But they did sign Julian Weigl on loan from Benfica on deadline day. The former Borussia Dortmund defensive-midfielder has started both Gladbach games since his arrival.
Like Rose, Farke tends to favour a 4-2-3-1. Marcus Thuram has already equalled his goalscoring tally from last season with three goals and one assist in six Bundesliga games. The Frenchman an asset to this squad as they chase a return to European football. One player that RB Leipzig must mark tightly is Manu Koné. The French youth international is one of Europe’s best progressive midfielders.
RB Leipzig have had a busy schedule and Gladbach haven’t scored more than one goal in a games since matchday two. I expect this to be a closely fought game and therefore less than 3.5 goals
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