Germany: Bundesliga
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By Ben Sully@SullyBen

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen preview: Newly-crowned champions face tough test

Newly-crowned champions Bayer Leverkusen will travel to Signal Iduna Park for Sunday’s Bundesliga clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund will be in a buoyant mood after they overturned a first-leg deficit to beat Atlético Madrid in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final clash. After losing 2-1 in Madrid, Julian Brandt and Ian Maatsen grabbed a goal apiece to turn the tie in Dortmund’s favour. However, their hopes of reaching the semi-final were dented by two Atlético goals in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. Die Schwarzgelben ultimately produced a defiant response, scoring two goals in three minutes to seal their place in the final four of the Champions League for the first time since 2012-13.

Edin Terzic’s side can look forward to facing Paris Saint-Germain for the third and fourth time this season after competing against the French champions in the group stage. Before they play host to PSG on May 1, Dortmund must negotiate two difficult league games against Leverkusen and Bayer Leverkusen.

With the Bundesliga on course to secure an extra Champions League spot, fifth place could be enough for Dortmund to qualify for next season’s competition. However, they will still be determined to achieve a top-four finish for a ninth consecutive season. Dortmund are currently sitting three points adrift of fourth-placed RB Leipzig, who beat Heidenheim 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Team News

Dortmund are unable to call upon Ramy Bensebaïni and Sébastien Haller, while Donyell Malen is a doubt for Sunday’s contest. Karim Adeyemi is suspended after being sent off in last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Bayer Leverkusen

Leverkusen head into Sunday’s fixture as the Bundesliga champions after they wrapped up the title with a dominant performance against Werder Bremen. Victor Boniface dispatched his 25th-minute penalty, before Granit Xhaka doubled Leverkusen’s advantage on the hour-mark. Florian Wirtz went on to net a 22-minute hat-trick to secure a 5-0 victory and Leverkusen’s first-ever Bundesliga title. 

Die Werkself have already made the 2023-24 campaign one to remember, but they still have the chance to finish the season with three pieces of silverware. They will face Kaiserslautern in next month’s DFB-Pokal final, while they are also set to compete in the Europa League semi-final after eliminating West Ham United in midweek. After winning 2-0 in the first leg, Xabi Alonso’s side held the Hammers to a 1-1 draw in Thursday’s clash at the London Stadium thanks to Jeremie Frimpong’s 89th-minute equaliser.

Impressively, Leverkusen have now managed to avoid defeat in all 44 of their competitive matches this season. They will want to extend that unbeaten run in Sunday’s away meeting with Dortmund. Having failed to win their last three head-to-head meetings (D1, L2), Leverkusen are looking to beat Dortmund for the first time since February 2022.

Team News

Leverkusen are without the injured duo of Borja Iglesias and Adam Hlozek. Meanwhile, Amine Adli will serve a one-match suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.

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