Union Berlin will attempt to move back to the top of the Bundesliga table when they face Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
|Photo: Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Since beginning his tenure as Leverkusen head coach with a 4-0 victory over Schalke, Xabi Alonso has overseen a six-game winless run in all competitions.
Despite winning only three of their 19 competitive games this season, Leverkusen will appear in the knockout stages of the Europa League after playing out a goalless draw against Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday. Atlético Madrid's defeat to Porto ensured that a point was enough for Leverkusen to secure third position and a place in the Europa League playoff round.
They will now turn their attention back to the Bundesliga, with three league games to play before the World Cup break. Die Werkself currently occupy the relegation playoff position after picking up nine points from 12 league games. One of the main reasons for their struggles has been their poor defensive record. Only two sides have conceded more Bundesliga goals this season than Leverkusen.
A defence low on confidence would have taken inspiration from a goalless draw in midweek, and if they can remain resolute against Union then Leverkusen will have the chance to record a victory that would move them out of the relegation places.
Leverkusen are expected to be without the services of Sardar Azmoun and Florian Wirtz, while their are doubts over the availability of Charles Aranguiz and Karim Bellarabi.
After Bayern Munich beat Union's city rivals Hertha BSC on Saturday, Urs Fischer's side will look to reclaim top spot when they face Bayer Leverkusen.
Union will head into Sunday's contest in a confident mood after booking their place in the Europa League playoff round with a 1-0 win over Union Saint-Gilloise on Thursday.
Following their midweek victory, Union will now turn their attention back to league matters. Die Eisernen have proven to be a tough team to beat in the Bundesliga this season, losing just two of their 12 matches, while they also have the best defensive record in the topflight after conceding only nine league goals.
With both of their league defeats taking place away from home, Union know they will have to work hard to claim all three points on Sunday, especially as they have never beaten Bayer Leverkusen in an away match.
If Union can score the opening goal then they will be confident of recording a victory, as they have won seven of the eight league games in which they have scored the opening goal this season.
Union have confirmed that goalkeeper Frederik Rønnow will miss Sunday's game through injury. Rønnow will be replaced by Lennart Grill, while András Schäfer and Kevin Möhwald are also sidelined.