Leverkusen travel to the Deutsche Bank Park in hopes for a second league win in a row after yet another confusing midweek loss to Porto.
Frankfurt need to bounce back after a Champions League defeat to Tottenham, along with a head-scratching loss against Bochum last weekend. It's an emotional game for several players, as Lucas Alario returns to play his former club after moving to Frankfurt in the summer.
Mario Götze will also play against former teammate Xabi Alonso for the first time since their days together at Bayern Munich. Tough injury news hit the Frankfurt camp today with center-back stalwart Makoto Hasebe likely out until 2023 with a knee injury.
This could potentially allow a first Bundesliga start for summer signing Hrvoje Smolcic, who gave away a late penalty after coming on against Tottenham. Luckily, Randal Kolo Muani is back in the side after serving a league suspension on Matchday 9.
Coach Oliver Glasner commented that, “I don’t think scoring too few goals is a problem for us. We’ve got the third-best record in the Bundesliga and the goals are distributed among different players. If anything, we need to look at conceding fewer.”
Hasebe, Almamy Toure and Jerome Onguene are all out on Saturday.
After an emphatic 4-0 win over Schalke, in true Leverkusen fashion, Alonso's side fell harshly back down to earth with a 3-0 home loss to Porto on Wednesday. Jeremie Frimpong, who was suspended against the Portuguese club, is thankfully back in the team this weekend.
This is huge for Die Werkself, as Frimpong and Moussa Diaby’s combination play down the right side against Schalke was nearly unstoppable in Alonso's debut. 51% of Leverkusen’s attack came down the right wing on Matchday 9, with only 24% coming from Mitchel Bakker’s side.
A back three will likely start for the BayArena club, who will again depend on creativity from their wing-backs. Consistency is the key for Alonso, who needs a win to prove the Champions League club are on the right track.
Alonso stated that, “We did many things well against Porto but we also made mistakes. At the highest level, those are punished immediately. We have to be more compact and find the spaces better.”
Adding, ”We are working hard to find our identity and continue to build team spirit. We spent the first week getting to know each other better and better.”
Sardar Azmoun, Exequiel Palacios, Karim Bellarabi and Florian Wirtz remain out with injuries.