With Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen level on 51 points coming into this game, the battle for a top-four place comes to a head at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday (kick-off: 6:30 PM CEST/ 4:30 PM GMT/12:30 PM ET).
It's not been a good week for Peter Stöger's Dortmund side, who suffered a dispiriting 2-0 defeat away to Revierderby rivals Schalke last time out, and also lost striker Michy Batshuayi for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. That leaves Mario Götze, Maximilian Philipp and Andre Schürrle among the candidates to replace him up front, meaning both Christian Pulisic and Marco Reus should retain their places in attacking midfield. Manuel Akanji has recovered from illness and is vying for a spot in central defence once again.
Despite losing 6-2 to Bayern Munich in the DFB Cup semi-finals on Tuesday, the mood is nevertheless positive in the Leverkusen camp after posting impressive 4-1 wins over fellow European contenders Eintracht Frankfurt and RB Leipzig in the last two weeks to go third in the standings, above their hosts on goal difference. Striker Lucas Alario is available again following suspension, but his path into the side is likely to be blocked by Kevin Volland, who hit a hat-trick on Matchday 30. Lars Bender sits the game out with a one-match ban, so Tin Jedvaj should come into the side in defence.
Watch: Reus' goals against every Bundesliga club
Dortmund: Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Toprak, Schmelzer (c) – Dahoud, Weigl – Pulisic, Götze, Reus - Philipp
Absentees: Zagadou (thigh), Rode (groin), Guerreiro (match fitness), Kagawa (ankle), Batshuayi (ankle)
Coach: Peter Stöger
Leverkusen: Leno – Jedvaj, S. Bender, Retsos, Henrichs – Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz – Brandt, Havertz, Bailey – Volland
Absentees: Wendell (ankle), L. Bender (suspended), Pohjanpalo (ankle)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
- Bernd Leno turned 25 on Leverkusen's last visit to Dortmund, and ended up on the wrong side of a 6-2 defeat.
- BVB attacker Philipp is now the club's top scorer among currently active players this season with seven goals.
- Leverkusen coach Herrlich lifted the Champions League as a player with Dortmund, and also won the Bundesliga title twice with the club.
- Volland is the top scoring German striker in the Bundesliga with 14 goals this term.
- Julian Brandt has registered four goals and one assist in his last six league outings.
- The hosts are unbeaten in their last eight Bundesliga assignments at home (W5 D3).