Germany: Bundesliga
4 - 0
(1 - 0)
Union Berlin
Á. Grimaldo (23), K. Odilon (57), J. Tah (73), N. Tella (83)
By Ben Sully@SullyBen

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Union Berlin preview: Can the hosts reclaim top spot?

After Bayern Munich's win over Heidenheim saw Bayer Leverkusen drop down to second position, die Werkself will look to move back to the top of the Bundesliga table when they welcome Union Berlin to the BayArena on Sunday.

Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen are still yet to taste defeat this season, having won 14 and drawn one of their 15 competitive matches. Since drawing 2-2 with Bayern Munich in September, Xabi Alonso’s side have gone on to claim 10 consecutive victories in all competitions.

While they are enjoying an impressive run of form, they have been made to work hard for their last two victories, including last weekend’s 3-2 win over Hoffenheim. First-half strikes from Florian Wirtz and Álex Grimaldo put Leverkusen in control, before Hoffenheim netted two goals in as many minutes to restore proceedings. Despite giving up their comfortable advantage, die Werkself kept their composure to net a winner courtesy of Grimaldo’s second goal of the game.

In Thursday’s Europa League away meeting with Qarabag, they looked set to play out a goalless draw until Victor Bonfice converted a stoppage-time penalty to secure Leverkusen’s place in the knockout rounds.

They will now turn their attention to Sunday’s league clash at the BayArena, where they will look to produce the sort of performance that saw them thrash Union 5-0 in last season’s home meeting. Leverkusen have fared well in front of their own supporters this term, winning all seven of their competitive home games this season and scoring 26 times across those fixtures.
Team News

Edmond Tapsoba, Patrik Schick and Arthur are all ruled out through injury, while Exequiel Palacios is a doubt after missing the win over Qarabag.

Union Berlin

In contrast to their hosts, Union are currently enduring a poor run of form, having failed to record a victory since beating Darmstadt on August 26. While die Eisernen continue to wait for their next victory, they may have restored some belief in Wednesday’s trip to Italy. Union would have been fearing another defeat when Napoli took the lead in the Champions League clash, but a second-half effort from David Datro Fofana ensured the Bundesliga side held the reigning Serie A champions to a 1-1 draw.

After ending a 12-game losing run in all competitions, Union will look to build upon their midweek result when they face Leverkusen on Sunday. The visitors head into the contest in the automatic relegation places with one point separating them from the playoff spot, while they are two points adrift of safety altogether.

Although they may find it difficult to beat Leverkusen for the first time since January 2021, Union may fancy their chances of picking up a point after drawing four of their last five meetings.
Team News

András Schäfer and Rani Khedira are unavailble due to injury and suspension respectively. Meanwhile, there is doubt surrounding the availability of Danilho Doekhi, who has been absent for the last four matches.

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