Borussia Dortmund will be looking to make it nine games undefeated at Bayer 04 Leverkusen when they travel to their fellow UEFA Champions League aspirants on Sunday afternoon (kick-off: 15:30CET/14:30GMT).
BVB are in impressive form, with Saturday’s 1-0 win over Hannover 96 seeing them maintain their 13-point cushion on third-place Leverkusen. BVB still trail leaders FC Bayern München by eight points, and coach Thomas Tuchel may have to rotate his starting line-up so hot on the heels of UEFA Europa League duty against FC Porto.
Leverkusen remain favourites to secure the third and final automatic Champions League place, with Saturday’s 2-1 win at SV Darmstadt 98 moving them above Hertha Berlin on account of their superior goal difference.
Dortmund extended their winning start to the season to 11 matches in all competitions following a thumping 3-0 win at home to Leverkusen. Jonas Hofmann, Shinji Kagawa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored for Thomas Tuchel’s men.
Matchday 22 - match stats
- Both teams will head into this match having played Portuguese opposition just three days earlier. UEFA Europa League duty this week sees Leverkusen travel to Sporting Lisbon, whilst Dortmund welcome FC Porto to Signal Iduna Park.
- Leverkusen have are without a win at home to Dortmund in eight games – Leverkusen have dropped more points at home to Dortmund than against any other team.
- Die Werkself’s last victory over BVB at the BayArena came in May 2007, when Stefan Kießling and Simon Rolfes scored to drown out Ebi Smolarek’s goal for Die Schwarz-Gelben. Michael Skibbe was Leverkusen coach at the time, with Thomas Doll in charge of Dortmund.
- Dortmund’s current points haul of 48 would have been sufficient to see them top the table at this stage of the season in 40 of the 52 Bundesliga campaigns played to date.
- This season Dortmund come into this fixture in second, one place yet 13 points better off than Leverkusen. That stands in stark contrast to their visit to Leverkusen last season, when their 0-0 draw saw BVB slip to the bottom of the Bundesliga table under Jürgen Klopp.
- That nightmare is fast becoming a distant memory for Dortmund. After 21 matchdays this season, BVB already have more points (48) than they managed in the whole of last season (46).
- After Saturday’s 2-1 win over SV Darmstadt 98, Leverkusen have now gone six games undefeated for the first time this season. Roger Schmidt’s men have picked up 14 of a possible 18 points in that time.
- Gonzalo Castro returns to Leverkusen for the first time as a Dortmund player. The Germany midfielder spent 16 years at Leverkusen, playing 377 official matches and helping the team finish as runners up to Dortmund in the Bundesliga in 2011.
- Dortmund have won all 17 games in which Henrikh Mkhitaryan has scored.
Leverkusen: Leno - Jedvaj, Tah, Toprak, Wendell - Kramer, Kampl - Bellarabi, Brandt, Mehmedi - Kießling
Absentees: Bender, Aranguiz, Hernandez (all light training)
Dortmund: Bürki - Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Schmelzer - Ginter - Gündogan, Castro - H. Mkhitaryan, Reus - Aubameyang
Absentees: Weidenfeller (light training)