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Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Werder Bremen - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bayer Leverkusen take on Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday with the hosts looking to bounce back from two successive defeats.

Bremen, meanwhile, have lost five of their last six games themselves to slip to 14th position in the table.


Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen's Nadiem Amiri celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal on January 2, 2021© Reuters

Having had the chance to end 2020 top of the Bundesliga, Robert Lewandowski's last-minute winner for Bayern Munich against Leverkusen saw Peter Bosz's side slip to second in the table prior to the winter break.

Travelling to Eintracht Frankfurt without several first-team defenders was never going to be an easy task, either, with the hosts running out 2-1 winners on Saturday to leave Leverkusen five points behind league leaders Bayern.

Bosz will have been especially disappointed with the defeat given that his side took an early lead through superb combination play between teenage sensation Florian Wirtz and Nadiem Amiri, with Wirtz's deliciously-scooped through-ball finding Amiri in the opposition penalty area. The Germany international skilfully swivelled with the ball before back-heeling it past a helpless Kevin Trapp.

However, Leverkusen's defensive deficiencies showed, with Daichi Kamada causing no end of problems with his trademark third-man runs. Amin Younes displayed excellent composure to score his first goal for the club since joining on loan, but the midfielder should have had two after Kamada superbly found him on the edge of the area. Another accurate Kamada cutback led to Edmond Tapsoba turning the ball into his own net, with Martin Hinteregger's sliced clearance hitting his own post the closest that Leverkusen came to salvaging a point.

With four successive games against top-half opposition following the home game against Bremen on Saturday, Bosz will be imploring his side to earn themselves a routine win in order to keep the pressure on Bayern and RB Leipzig at the top of the table.

Werder Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Florian Kohfeldt will be counting his lucky stars that teenage debutant Eren Dinkci struck late on to earn a narrow victory against relegation rivals Mainz 05 prior to the winter break, otherwise his side would be deeply embroiled in another relegation battle this season.

Bremen are a long way from being out of trouble, though, as evidenced by their toothless 2-0 defeat at home to Union Berlin on Saturday. Despite trailing from the 12th minute, Kohfeldt's side mustered only two shots on target throughout the game, with Dinkci surprisingly not even among the substitutes.

Taiwo Awoniyi, on loan from Liverpool, and Sheraldo Becker proved too hot for Bremen's defence to handle, with the pair combining for both first-half goals and almost a third on the break in the second half. First Becker fiercely struck from outside of the area, before a dreadful piece of defending by Marco Friedl allowed Robert Andrich to expertly guide the ball into Awoniyi's path, with the forward scuffing the ball past Jiri Pavlenka.

Kohfeldt will be grateful that top goalscorer Niclas Fullkrug has recovered from injury, with the forward making an appearance from the bench in defeat, but his side will need to display much more creativity in order for him to flourish to his full capabilities.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: DWWWLL
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WWWWLL

Werder Bremen Bundesliga form: LLLLWL
Werder Bremen form (all competitions): LLLWWL


Team News

Wendell in action for Bayer Leverkusen on October 28, 2017© Reuters

Leverkusen remain without long-term absentees Paulinho, Santiago Arias and Exequiel Palacios for the visit of Bremen.

Charles Aranguiz, Sven Bender and Karim Bellarabi are unlikely to recover from injury in time, meanwhile, with Wendell out due to coronavirus.

Bremen, meanwhile, are without Nick Woltemade and Kevin Mohwald due to sickness, while Milot Rashica is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

Kohfeldt will carefully consider whether Fullkrug is ready to start; slowly building his match fitness up ahead of potentially more winnable fixtures is surely an option, but the temptation to throw him into the side will definitely be there, too.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Bender, Tah, Tapsoba, Weiser; Wirtz, Baumgartlinger, Amiri; Bailey, Schick, Diaby

Werder Bremen possible starting lineup:
Pavlenka; Gebre-Selassie, Toprak, Friedl, Augustinsson; Eggestein, Gross; Schmid, Osako, Bittencourt; Sargent


SM words green background

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 Werder Bremen

We expect Leverkusen to return to winning ways on Saturday against a Bremen side currently devoid of confidence, although it is unlikely to be as comfortable as many may expect.

Should the likes of Patrik Schick and Moussa Diaby fire on all cylinders, though, it is difficult to see Bremen being able to gain a positive result.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Bayern Munich players celebrate after Robert Lewandowski scores against Borussia Dortmund on November 7, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan103518
United StatesUnited States98825
ChinaChina95721
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia77418
Great BritainGreat Britain45413
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (3.15am-6.10am)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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