Champions League-chasing Bayer Leverkusen travel to Schalke’s Veltins-Arena on Sunday as they look to bounce back into the top 4 matrix in one of the most dramatic finales to a Bundesliga season.
David Wagner is under tremendous pressure now as his Schalke team endures an awful run of form. Last weekend’s 1-1 draw against Union Berlin is the only point they have earned since the resumption of the season and are now cumulatively on a 12-game winless streak in the league to leave them on 38 points, seven behind sixth-placed Wolfsburg in the race for Europa League places. A team that had top 4 ambitions earlier in the season is now mired in midtable mediocrity.
As if that slide toward the bottom is not painful enough, Die Knappen have a massive injury list to deal with, as they will potentially have as many as eight players missing this game with a variety of injuries.
Bayer lost 4-2 at home to likely champions Bayern Munich in their last league game. But they bounced back with an easy 3-0 victory over fourth-tier Saarbrucken in the German Cup on Tuesday night to book another date with Bayern Munich in the Cup finals, as Bayern overcame Frankfurt in the other semifinal.
Leverkusen are in fifth place, level on points with Borussia Monchengladbach who are in fourth place and just three behind third-placed RB Leipzig. Gladbach play Bayern 24 hours earlier and if they lose, Leverkusen will have a chance to swap places with them with a win here. With Bayern out of the way, their remaining fixtures also look good on paper for them with all four of their opponents below them in the table.
Coach Peter Bosz will be further boosted by getting star playmaker Kai Havertz back after missing the defeat by Bayern and the midweek cup victory.
Leverkusen have had a brilliant season and are very much in the thick of the battle for Champions League places. They have won four of the six games after the restart, with their two defeats against Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, these incidentally being the only L’s they have taken in the last 16 games in all competition. Their away record in the Bundesliga is outstanding with 10 wins from 15 games. Only Bayern has won more with 11 wins.
Leverkusen’s top scorer Havertz is expected to return from injury after missing the last two games. He is having a season to remember and his goal-scoring exploits are drawing attention from top teams around Europe who are looking to get his signature this summer. Prior to the two-game layoff, he had scored seven goals in six games either side of the break. We fancy him to make a return by getting on the scorer’s sheet yet again.
Our betting tips for this game are:
Tip: Halftime/Fulltime, Leverkusen/Leverkusen @ 2.40 with Betfair
Tip: Kai Havertz Anytime Goal Scorer @ 2.00 with Bet9ja betting app
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