Leverkusen vs. Dortmund preview:
Die Werkself try for their 6th straight win
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
In what should be a high-flying affair, Dortmund travel to the BayArena with both clubs looking to continue their push up the table.
|Photo: Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
The company club are slowly climbing back to their usual spot in the top half of the standings and have started 2023 with two solid wins. Something has finally clicked for Xabi Alonso and the return of Florian Wirtz is one of the main reasons why.
Leverkusen haven’t lost a step without Patrik Schick available to lead the line, as the link-up play between Jeremie Frimpong and Moussa Diaby is still giving opposing defenses headaches. Alonso is trying to sort out the best pairing in center defense with Edmond Tapsoba being the only clear, consistent starter at the moment.
Discussing their improved form of late, Alonso shared, "We defend better and do more for each other as a team. As a result, the distance between the lines is closer. The automatisms are more settled and offensively we also want to control the game. The combination of both is important."
Schick will likely return to the squad on Sunday after recovering from a groin injury, but he'll start on the bench. On the other hand, Charles Aranguiz isn’t ready for a comeback.
BVB began the new year with a couple of victories, but that's not to say they haven't given supporters a heart attack in the process. Both games required late scores from American Gio Reyna in order to narrowly claim all three points.
Jude Bellingham will return to the squad on Sunday evening after serving a suspension, while new signing Julian Ryerson will likely start again at right-back. Dortmund won the surprisingly low-scoring affair against Leverkusen to open the campaign in August and really need three points to keep in shouting distance of Bayern.
Edin Terzic stated, "It's important that we started the new year with two wins. We have a connection to the top. In Leverkusen, we'll see where the road leads. We want to start the new year with nine points and then be in the thick of things."
Thomas Meunier and Mateu Morey are still unavailable for BVB. Everything points to Marco Reus being back in the squad.