Summary

  • Leverkusen ninth after Leipzig defeat.
  • Bayer face CSKA in Champions League Group E on Tuesday.
  • Bayern up next in the Bundesliga on Matchday 12.

The games are stacking up for Bayer 04 Leverkusen in what is shaping up to be a pivotal juncture in Die Werkself's season.

Roger Schmidt's side take on defending Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena at the weekend, but not before travelling to the Russian capital to face PFC CSKA Moskva in UEFA Champions League Group E on Tuesday evening (kick-off: 18:00CET/17:00GMT).

After travelling to Moscow in the Champions League, Bayer face FC Bayern München in the Bundesliga. © gettyimages / Alex Grimm

Although Leverkusen are unbeaten in Europe this season and currently sit second in Group E on six points, their Bundesliga form has yet to hit the heights of last season's late surge up the standings, which saw them go from eighth on Matchday 25 to third by the end of the campaign. Eleven matches into 2016/17, following an avoidable defeat to surprise Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig, Bayer have fallen as low as ninth.

"We're just not consistent enough at the moment," admitted midfielder Julian Brandt, scorer of Leverkusen's second goal of the night on Matchday 11. "Sometimes we're brilliant; other times we throw games away. There's enormous potential in the team, though, and I think the problems will sort themselves out. Then we'll be able to string a couple of wins together."

Julian Brandt (c.) is confident Leverkusen will put together a winning run before long. © imago / Kolvenbach

Leverkusen have only managed to do that twice in the Bundesliga this season, either side of their 1-1 draw with AS Monaco at the end of September and the priceless 1-0 victory away to Tottenham Hotspur FC on Champions League Matchday 4 respectively. With only five Bundesliga wins under their belts so far this term, they are already five points adrift of the coveted top four places.

"We made too many mistakes," Hakan Calhanoglu said of the Leipzig reverse, himself having missed a 54th-minute penalty with Leverkusen leading 2-1. "Chicha [Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez] is the first-choice penalty taker, but he wasn't playing, so I stepped up. Obviously I'm disappointed, but the show must go on. We want to win in Moscow."

Hakan Calhanoglu is hoping to put his Matchday 11 penalty miss behind him in Moscow. © imago

Should Leverkusen better Tottenham's result against Monaco in Group E's other fixture, they will progress to the Round of 16 one game ahead of schedule. To help their cause, influential striker Chicharito is set to return to the starting line-up, having only made a fleeting appearance as a substitute against Leipzig, following his FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying exertions with Mexico earlier in the week.

The 28-year-old has not scored since finding the net in the 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund back on 1 October, but if there is one player capable of reigniting Bayer's spark in time for Saturday's must-see showdown with Bayern, it is the Bundesliga's all-time leading Mexican goalscorer.

Watch: Highlights of Leverkusen's Matchday 6 win against Dortmund:

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