Preview: Augsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen

With European qualification on the line, what a game this could turn out to be. FC Augsburg and Bayer Leverkusen are sitting in fifth and sixth place respectively in the Bundesliga and both sides are looking to bounce back with a win following their defeats last week. 

Augsburg have only picked up one point from their last two outings in the league, but remain on course for Europe. I am sure they will be looking to keep the two point gap that seperates them and their opponents, Bayer. Leverkusen will be aware that they aren’t in a situation to lose any more ground in the race for 4th spot. They will be looking to bounce back as they came out unfortunate losers in possibly the game of the year as they were beaten 4-5 by Wolfsburg. 

Team News: Augsburg

Augsburg injury list is still long and has many a player on it. No.1 ‘keeper Marwin Hitz could return in between the sticks for the hosts. Right-back Christoph Janker is also expected to start after he completes his two game ban. However, they are now without Markus Feulner who replaces Janker as being suspended as he picked up his fifth yellow card of the season last week vs. Werder Bremen. 

Team News: Bayer Leverkusen

Tin Jedvaj and Robbie Kruse are both unavailable for this game. Manager Roger Schmidt will have one eye on their Champions League battle with Atletico Madrid next week. He is also without Emir Spahic following his two red cards vs. Wolfsburg last week. Omer Toprak could return for the visitors. Also, Karim Bellarabi should start following his delighful news in signing a contract extension which will keep him at the Bay Arena for another five years. 

Influential Player: Augsburg

Abdul Rahman Baba didn’t have the best AFCON with his nation Ghana but the tournament would have given him plenty of experience and I’m sure he’ll be up for today. He has the job of trying to keep the likes of Bellarabi, Brandt and Son quiet throughout, a task his manager will be confident that he can perform. 

Influential Player: Leverkusen

Leverkusen have plenty of players that on their day, they can strike fear into any team around Europe. Hakan Calhanoglu is a massive player for the visitors and his passes and creativity may come into play, alongside his delightful set pieces. Karim Bellarabi will be looking to show that Leverkusen have made the right choice by giving him his contract extension and the German winger will be a tricky player for the Augsburg full-backs to cope with. Son has also been in very good form as of late and he almost inspired their comeback vs, Wolfsburg with a 2nd half hat-trick. 

Mangers Comments: Weinzierl 

“We’re strong at home and we war to show that again. It’s not about a place in Europe for us; it’s about three important points.”

Mangers Comments: Schmidt 

“We’re working hard to eradicate our mistakes, but the team’s mood is as good as ever. We want to move above of Augsburg.”

Form Guide: 

In the 2014/15 season, Augsburg have only dropped points three times on home soil. However, they are without a win in their last 2 games away from home. Leverkusen are in 4th place when it comes to away form, (4W, 2D, 4L). However, for the first time under boss Schmidt, they have lost two league games on the bounce.

Possible XI’s: Augsburg

Hitz – Janker, Callsen-Bracker, Klavan, Baba – Baier – Bobadilla, Höjbjerg, Altintop, Werner – Ji

Possible XI’s: Leverkusen: 

Leno – Donati, Toprak, Papadopoulos, Wendell – Castro, Rolfes – Bellarabi, Brandt, Son – Kießling

 

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