Kai Havertz has form on his side as top-six hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen prepare to host second-bottom Nuremberg on Saturday (kick-off: 3.30pm CEST/2.30pm BST/9.30am ET).
Havertz celebrated his 100th professional appearance by scoring the winning goal in Stuttgart. The 1-0 victory snapped a three-game losing run, bumping Bayer right back into contention for a European finish. Nineteen-year-old Havertz has now scored seven times in 2019, including four in his last five appearances, and coach Peter Bosz will see little reason to tinker with his starting line-up against a Nuremberg side that has failed to win any of their last 20 Bundesliga away matches. Bayer have not lost this season to any of the teams currently in the bottom half of the standings, and could rise as high as sixth with a win.
Nuremberg looked dead and buried earlier in the year, but a run of five points from their last three matches has given them every chance of avoiding an immediate return to the second tier. Although outright safety might be too big an ask, Der Club closed the gap on the relegation play-off place to three points following their 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Schalke, and could trade places with 16th-placed Stuttgart if results go their way this weekend. With no fresh concerns on the personnel front, interim coach Boris Schommers is set to name an unchanged starting XI for the the fourth successive match.
Watch: Kai Havertz did the business for Leverkusen in Stuttgart on Matchday 29
- Leverkusen teenager Havertz is the youngest player to reach 13 goals in a Bundesliga season since Stuttgart's Horst Köppel in 1967/68.
- Kevin Volland, who is next in the Bayer scoring charts, is yet to score in five career Bundesliga games against Nuremberg.
- Leon Bailey has scored four of his five Bundesliga goals this season in 2019, but is without a goal in his last three.
- Hanno Behrens and Mikael Ishak are Nuremberg's top scorers this season on four Bundesliga goals apiece.
- Nuremberg have taken just three points from a possible 42 on the road this season.
- Der Club have lost five of their last six Bundesliga meetings with Bayer.
Leverkusen: Hradecky – L. Bender (c), Tah, S. Bender, Wendell – Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger, Brandt – Havertz, Volland, Bailey
Out: Bellarabi (thigh), Pohjanpalo (ankle)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Nuremberg: Mathenia – Bauer, Mühl, Ewerton, Leibold – Erras – Pereira, Löwen, Behrens (c), Kerk - Ishak
Out: Misidjan (suspended), Valentini (thigh), Zrelak (cruciate ligament)
Doubtful: Knoll (ankle)
Coach: Boris Schommers