Written by Valdis Pans
By Valdis Pans
The fight for the Top 4 in the Bundesliga heats up, as the 3rd-placed Borussia Monchengladbach are playing host to the 5th-placed Bayer Leverkusen, with both teams only separated by two points. Kick-off - at 9:30 AM ET on Saturday, May 23.
Gladbach Win In Frankfurt
Borussia Monchengladbach extended their unbeaten run on the road to four away fixtures (W3 D1) after banking a convincing 3-1 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt at Commerzbank Arena on Saturday. Alassane Plea opened the scoring just 37 seconds into the fixture, netting his ninth snipe of the year. Marcus Thuram made it 2-0 just six minutes later with his seventh of the campaign, while Ramy Bensebaini, who recorded an assist on Gladbach’s second strike, converted from the penalty spot on the 73rd minute of the game. The Foals have now moved up to the 3rd place of the Bundesliga (W16 D4 L6), trailing the 1st-placed Bayern Munich and the 2nd-placed Borussia Dortmund by six and two points respectively.
Plea’s nine league goals this season lead the team’s scoring chart, with the nifty French forward having also amassed a total of seven assists. Goalie Yann Sommer, meanwhile, still tops the whole Bundesliga with 100 saves so far this year. He has five clean sheets in 26 appearances, giving up a goal every 75 minutes. Borussia Monchengladbach sit 4th in most goals scored (52), 6th in most shots attempted (13.7 per game), as well as 6th in ball possession (51.4%) and passing accuracy (80.8%).
Bayer Leverkusen Impress In Bremen
The current excellent form of Bayer Leverkusen continued, as the team recorded its eighth victory in the last 10 league contests (W8 D1 L1) after thrashing Werder Bremen 4-1 away at WOHNINVEST-Weserstadion on Monday. 20-year-old Kai Havertz buried two headers, improving to six goals and four assists in nine league fixtures in the calendar year of 2020. Mitchell Weiser and Kerem Demirbay also scored for Die Werkself, who are sitting 5th in the Bundesliga with a W15 D5 L6 record, just one point behind the 4th-placed RB Leipzig.
German striker Kevin Volland, who leads Bayer with nine goals and seven assists from 22 outings (21 starts), could make his return from a syndesmotic ligament tear, with Havertz still likely to start the game upfront, having notched eight snipes and five helpers in 23 league appearances this year. Havertz has 12 markers and seven assists in all competitions this season. Goalie Lukas Hradecky, meanwhile, sits 7th in the Bundesliga with 75 saves in 26 starts. He concedes a goal every 75 minutes on average and has posted eight clean sheets. Bayer Leverkusen are 5th in most goals scored (49), 3rd in shots taken (15.4 per game), 2nd in ball possession (59.9%) and 3rd in passing accuracy (84.9%).
With only two points separating the 5th-placed Bayer Leverkusen from the 3rd-placed Borussia Monchengladbach, this is as evenly matched a contest as they come. So, backing a draw in this outing is definitely not the worst of ideas! Both teams have failed to register a stalemate when facing each other since playing out a 1-1 tie in December 2014, with Gladbach winning seven of the subsequent 12 meetings. Still, it is difficult to give the hosts an advantage even on their own turf versus Bayer, who have beaten Borussia on three of their last four trips to Monchengladbach. With both Alassane Plea and Kai Havertz in excellent scoring forms this year for their respective teams, expect the goals to flow here as well.
Correct score: 2-2 (+925)
Kai Havertz to score anytime (+175)