Borussia Dortmund - Bayer Leverkusen Preview: Champions aim to recover from Nurnberg blip
The reigning champions could only record a 1-1 draw with Dieter Hecking's men a fortnight ago, but have a full squad to choose from for the clash with die Werkself
By Enis Koylu
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Kuba, Gotze, Reus
Carvajal, Wollscheid, Toprak, Kadlec
Bender, Reinartz, Rolfes
Castro, Kiessling, Schurrle
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that he has a full squad to pick from for the visit of their North Rhine Westphalia rivals.
Mario Gotze has been used sparingly by the champions so far this season after a string of injuries has hampered his year, but after featuring heavily for Germany during the international break, he should be able to come back into the starting line-up at the expense of Kevin Grosskreutz, who has been less than impressive this season.
Elsewhere, Sven Bender is yet to play a minute of football this season after hernia surgery, but should be fine to take up a place on the bench, with club captain Sebastian Kehl continuing in midfield alongside Ilkay Gundogan.
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen have just Sidney Sam, who is back in training but lacking fitness, missing for the trip to Signal Iduna Park, and Sami Hyypia's men should line up in a 4-3-3 formation.
Former Real Madrid trainee Dani Carvajal should keep his place at right-back after a promising performance against Freiburg on matchday 2.
One change that the former Liverpool defender could make would see Stefan Reinartz, who was in poor form a fortnight ago, replaced by Renato Augusto, should the Finn see the need to go for a more attacking option in midfield.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Borussia Dortmund finished seven points ahead of second-placed Leverkusen in their first Bundesliga-winning season under Jurgen Klopp.
- Die Schwarzgelben managed to score just one goal against their fellow North Rhine Westphalia outfit last season, but still managed to gain a total of four points.
- Dortmund duo Marco Reus (pictured, right) and Oliver Kirch will be particularly eager to impress on Saturday, having represented Leverkusen's Rhine rivals Borussia Monchengladbach before moving to Jurgen Klopp's side.
- Bayer Leverkusen have beaten Dortmund just once in the last four seasons. Then coached by current Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes, they triumphed 2-0 at Signal Iduna Park on matchday 1 in the 2010-11 season.
- Lars Bender could face his identical twin brother Sven on Saturday, should the latter recover sufficiently from hernia surgery to feature.
- Die Werkself are the only team in history to have reached the Champions League final without ever having won their domestic league.
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Top 3 Predictions
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 20.12 %
Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 12.68 %
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
- 12.27 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Dec 7, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 0 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Feb 3, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 - Borussia Dortmund 3|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Sep 15, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 3 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Feb 11, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 1 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Aug 27, 2011||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0 - Borussia Dortmund 0|
|Dec 11, 2013||Olympique de Marseille 1 - Borussia Dortmund 2||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 0 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||GER1|
|Dec 3, 2013||1. FC Saarbrücken 0 - Borussia Dortmund 2||GERC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Mainz 1 - Borussia Dortmund 3||GER1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 3 - SSC Napoli 1||UCL|
Borussia Dortmund have been sadly lacking in creativity so far this season, and have often appeared toothless in attack. However, the full return of Mario Gotze will come as a boost to the hosts due to the 20-year-old's ability to both create and finish chances. He was in great form over the international break during Germany's wins over Faroe Islands and Austria, scoring a magnificent solo goal against the Nordic minnows, and could well and truly make the difference on Saturday.
After a summer that saw his striking rival Eren Derdiyok depart the BayArena for Hoffenheim, Stefan Kiessling has showcased some of his best form, scoring two goals in his three games in all competitions. The club have indicated that they will not be in the market for a new attacker, and there will be no better way for the Germany international to vindicate their faith in him than by putting in a match-winning performance against the champions on Saturday.
To say that Borussia Dortmund have been in unsteady form so far this season would be a huge understatement, but Bayer Leverkusen have hardly been convincing themselves, losing to newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt on matchday 1. What's more, the return of Mario Gotze will lift the hosts, and I'd expect Jurgen Klopp's side will raise their game and see out their local rivals in a closely contested affair.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed