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Leverkusen vs. Dortmund: Key Battles Unveiled
- Updated: December 1, 2023
Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund are set to clash in a highly anticipated Matchday 13 fixture, with Leverkusen leading the league undefeated in 11 wins and a draw from their 12 games. Although Xabi Alonso’s side enters as the betting favorites, Dortmund, despite trailing by 10 points in fourth place, has showcased resilience with a recent 3-1 victory over AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League.
Here’s a closer look at three key battles that could shape the outcome of this exciting encounter:
1) ‘Grim’ Prospect for Any Opponent
Victor Boniface, a summer arrival from Union SG, has exceeded expectations, scoring seven Bundesliga goals. However, Álex Grimaldo, Leverkusen’s left-back, poses an equal threat with seven goals and four assists. Grimaldo’s marauding runs up the left make him a formidable force. The key for Dortmund will be how they contain him. With Niklas Süle sidelined due to illness, Julian Ryerson might be tasked with this challenge. Leverkusen’s formation advantage (3-4-2-1 with wing-backs) could give Grimaldo the upper hand.
2) Brandt Strategy
Julian Brandt, a former Leverkusen star, holds the key to Dortmund’s attacking prowess. With four goals and five assists, Brandt’s ability to drift between the lines makes him a challenging player to mark. Leverkusen’s Jeremie Frimpong, as Grimaldo’s partner in wing-back, might leave space behind, requiring disciplined defending from Odilon Kossounou on the right of Bayer’s back three. Stopping Brandt’s dynamic play will demand a collective effort from Leverkusen.
3) Midfield Minefield
While Mats Hummels initiates Dortmund’s attacks from deep, Leverkusen relies on Granit Xhaka and Exequiel Palacios in the heart of midfield. Xhaka, a summer transfer from Arsenal, has been a success story, completing 93% of his passes. The midfield battle will likely feature Leverkusen’s Xhaka and Palacios against Dortmund’s Emre Can and Marcel Sabitzer. Leverkusen’s midfield duo outstrips BVB’s in ball usage. This midfield contest will play a crucial role in determining possession and dictating the tempo of the game.
Leverkusen and Dortmund boast impressive possession statistics, with 57% and 56% average ball possession, respectively. However, Leverkusen stands out with 89.9% successful passes per game, a significant lead over Dortmund’s 86.2%. The Werkself’s precise passing, coupled with flashes of inspiration from players like Florian Wirtz and Marco Reus, could be decisive in this encounter.
As Sunday approaches, Xabi Alonso and Edin Terzić, the managers of Leverkusen and Dortmund, respectively, will be grappling with strategies to counter the highlighted battles. The Leverkusen-Dortmund clash promises to be a thrilling contest with these three key aspects keeping both managers up at night in anticipation of the showdown.
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By- Sahiba Suri