With just an uncomfortable four-point cushion between themselves and the relegation play-off place, Bayer Leverkusen can ill afford anything other than a win at home to Schalke on Friday (kick-off 20:30CEST/18:30GMT).

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Stefan Kießling starts up front in place of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez for Leverkusen, while Kai Havertz is unavailable since he is sitting school exams.

Markus Weinzierl reverts to one lone striker, with Klass-Jan Huntelaar dropping back to the bench. Leon Goretzka comes back into midfield following his injury sustained against Ajax.

Confirmed teams

Leverkusen: Leno – Hilbert, Jedvaj, Toprak, Henrichs – Brandt, Aranguiz, Kampl, Bellarabi – Kießling, Volland
Coach: Tayfun Korkut
Absentees: Calhanoglu (CAS suspension). Bender (ankle)

Schalke: Fährmann – Coke, Höwedes, Badstuber, Kolasinac – Stambouli, Bentaleb – Schöpf, Goretzka, Caligiuri - Burgstaller
Coach: Markus Weinzierl
Absentees: Baba (knee), Kehrer (suspended), Naldo (groin), Choupo-Moting (knee), Embolo (light training)

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Match Stats

  • With Schalke just two points and a place ahead of ahead of them, Leverkusen will overtake the Royal Blues with a win.
  • Die Werkself are without a win in four home games, their longest such drought since 2009.
  • They are, however, unbeaten in their previous five matches against Schalke, winning four.
  • From a possible 42 points away from home this season, Schalke have only taken ten.
  • It should be a feisty game: the previous 65 league meetings have been peppered with 18 dismissals.
  • Markus Weinzierl has failed to beat Leverkusen in nine attempts as a Bundesliga coach, losing six.

Head to the Match Centre for more on this fixture.