Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen will both be looking to bounce back after draws last time around...
With the international break over, Steve McClaren's men will be hoping to resume the form that has seen the club take 10 points from their last four games. Last time out Die Woelfe picked up a 1-1 away draw to Monchengladbach, a result in which the club will be hoping was a minor glitch in what now looks like being a potentially successful campaign.
This all of course coming after the saxony club suffered three consecutive defeats at the beginning of the season. The three straight victories that followed against Hannover, Hamburg and Freiburg looked like providing the springboard for the team to catapult themselves up the league table. Victory over Die Fohlen would have taken the club into a Europa League league place but their performance was poor.
"I’m a bit disappointed by the performance of the team today. We made a lot of individual mistakes and lost the ball far too easily. All of that made life difficult for us and strengthened Gladbach again. We missed a chance here today," coach Steve McClaren told the club's official website after the game.
However Wolfsburg have reason to be optimistic for their tie with Leverkusen. The home side have taken victories from their last two games at the Volkswagen Arena and minus Diego Benaglio and Arne Friedrich have a fully-fit roster to choose from which cannot be said about their opposition.
Not to say that Die Woelfe will be underestimating Leverkusen who sit two points clear of the 2008/09 Bundesliga champions.
"You’ve only got to look at the table to see just how important this game is. We are in direct competition with Bayer Leverkusen," left-back Marcel Shaefer told the club's website as the team looked for that extra motivation to claim all three points on Saturday.
"Aside from that, we have a home game and home games must be won."
Leverkusen Aim To Shore Up Leaky Defence
Despite enduring what seems like a never-ending injury list this season, Leverkusen have made a bright start sitting in fourth position, only a point away from one of the much coveted Champions League places. Die Werkself have only one defeat to their name as Jupp Heynckes continues to make the side a difficult one to beat.
The club can also take further confidence into this weekend's game against Wolfsburg knowing they did the double over Die Woelfe last season, including a dramatic victory away at the Volkswagen Arena. To add to this Wolfsburg only have one victory over Bayer in the team's last six meetings.
Historically, ties between the two sides tend to provide plenty of entertainment, something that the Leverkusen coach knows all about.
"Games between Wolfsburg and Bayer are always interesting affairs, very exciting and of very high quality," Heynckes told the official Bundesliga website earlier this week. Despite the team's recent excellent record against Wolfsburg, the legendary former striker is wary of where the opposition's strength lies.
"VfL have a very good attack. Diego, Edin Dzeko and Grafite are three absolutely fantastic players," Heynckes added.
Worryingly for the away side, their defensive record has been fairly poor this season. The 12 goals conceded by Die Werkself makes them the weakest defensive unit in the top half of the Bundesliga.
What is for sure is that both sides will try and play free-flowing attacking football. The match has all the earmarks of a potential goal-feast, especially when you take into consideration that in 26 previous meetings, these two sides have never seen out a goalless draw. To add to this the tie has seen an average of 3.06 goals per game making it one of the highest scoring fixtures of the Bundeliga calendar. Nil nil anyone?
The home side only have one fresh injury worry with 'keeper Diego Benaglio missing out with a groin injury. The Swiss shot-stopper had to be substituted in the 1-1 draw against Monchengladbach a fortnight ago and will be replaced by fellow coutryman Marwin Hitz. Die Woelfe welcome back former captain Josue into the starting line-up with Makoto Hasebe being the most liekly player to make way. The game comes too soon for international defender Arne Friedrich who has returned to light training after a back injury.
Probable Starting XI: Hitz - Pekarik, Barzagli, Kjaer, Schaefer - Josue, Riether, Kahlenberg, Diego - Grafite, Dzeko
Leverkusen are expected to name the same line-up that drew 2-2 with Werder Bremen two weeks ago. The only fresh injury concern for Heynckes being super-sub Eren Derdiyok who was pushing for a place in the starting 11. However the Swiss striker has been ruled out after coming down with a bout of flu. Die Werkself are still without several key players including Renato Augusto (knee), Gonzalo Castro (hamstring), Michael Ballack (shin) and Stefan Kiessling (ankle).
Probable Starting XI: Adler - Schwaab, Friedrich, Hyypia, Kadlec - Sam, Vidal, Reinartz, Balitsch, Barnetta - Helmes
Follow Goal.com on . Get the latest football news direct... Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best football fan community in the world!