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Feb 28, 2021 at 5pm UK at BayArena
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
1-2
FreiburgFreiburg
Bailey (70')
Aranguiz (68'), Bailey (71')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Demirovic (50'), Holer (61')
Demirovic (21'), Hofler (73'), Sallai (77')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and Freiburg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bayer Leverkusen take on Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Sunday, with the two sides six points apart in the table.

Leverkusen will be looking to bounce back after crashing out of the Europa League on Thursday night, with their hopes of securing a Champions League spot now resting firmly on finishing in the top four.


Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz pictured on February 21, 2021© Reuters

After a brilliant start to the season which saw them lead the Bundesliga for a while, Leverkusen have significantly dipped since the turn of the year, dropping to fifth in the table and five points outside of the Champions League qualification positions.

Peter Bosz's side were slightly fortunate to earn a point at Augsburg in a 1-1 draw last weekend, trailing for the majority of the match after deputy goalkeeper Niklas Lomb's horrendous error in the fifth minute allowed Florian Niederlechner to open the scoring by tapping into an empty net.

The 30-year-old proved a thorn in Leverkusen's side all afternoon, with Augsburg preying on their opponents' defensive nervousness by frequently going long to the striker, who narrowly blazed over the top before the break. Leverkusen did improve throughout the second half, but looked set to fall short before substitute Demarai Gray's superb cross from the right found Edmond Tapsoba to snatch a point with the last kick of the game.

Having already crashed out of the DFP-Pokal, Bosz will now have to focus solely on the league for the rest of the season after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Young Boys on Thursday in the Europa League. Leverkusen trailed 4-3 from the first leg but would have been confident of overturning the tie on home turf, but could not find the breakthrough as Theoson Siebatcheu and Christian Fassnacht's second-half strikes condemned the Germans to a premature exit from the competition.

Freiburg coach Christian Streich pictured on February 20, 2021© Reuters

Having benefitted from a week's rest, Freiburg may well sense an opportunity to bounce back from last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Union Berlin by upsetting the odds in Leverkusen.

There is little doubt, though, that they will have to play much better than they did during that defeat if they are to do so. Christian Streich's side were second best throughout, struggling to break down Union Berlin's disciplined defensive unit.

After a quiet first half which saw Robert Andrich come closest to scoring with a fierce strike from distance, the visitors took a deserved lead when Marcus Ingvartsen's lovely cross found Grischa Promel to stoop home at the back post. Urs Fischer's side had chances to double their tally, with Joel Pohjanpalo particularly profligate, but they comfortably held on to leapfrog Freiburg in the table.

Streich and his players should not be too downhearted, though, having put together a very decent run of results over the past few months. They tend to be more comfortable soaking up possession and playing in transition in any case, which should suit them perfectly against Leverkusen.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: WLLWDD
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): LWDLDL

Freiburg Bundesliga form: DWLWDL


Team News

Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby pictured in March 2020© Reuters

Leverkusen will be without Moussa Diaby after the winger picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Freiburg, so former Leicester City winger Gray may be handed his first start for the club after joining in January.

Lars Bender, Lukas Hradecky, Julian Baumgartlinger, Santiago Arias and Paulinho are all ruled out through injury.

Freiburg, meanwhile, will travel to Leverkusen without Mark Flekken and Kwon Chang-hoon due to injury, but otherwise Streich has a clean bill of health to choose from.

After blanking in their last two matches, the 55-year-old will be scratching his head as to the best way of fixing the attack. Ermedin Demirovic and Roland Sallai could return to the starting XI to increase the visitors' threat on the break.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Lomb; Fosu-Mensah, Bender, Tapsoba, Wendell; Wirtz, Aranguiz, Demirbay; Bailey, Schick, Gray

Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Muller; Schmid, Lienhart, Gulde, Gunter; Hofler, Santamaria; Sallai, Grifo; Holer, Demirovic


SM words green background

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Freiburg

We can envisage Freiburg gaining a positive result on Sunday, with Leverkusen having had much less rest than their opponents and consistently struggling to defend counter-attacks.

Freiburg tend to become more dangerous the less they have of the ball, so Leverkusen's methodical possession game should leave plenty of space in behind for them to exploit.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Bayern MunichBayern28205380364465
2RB Leipzig29187452232961
3Wolfsburg28159449262354
4Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt281411359401953
5Borussia DortmundDortmund281441058411746
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen28128845321344
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin2891364234840
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach28101084843540
9Stuttgart2810995044639
10Freiburg28107114042-237
11Hoffenheim2988134147-632
12Augsburg2895142942-1332
13Werder Bremen2879123243-1130
14Mainz 052877143048-1828
15Hertha Berlin2868143448-1426
16Arminia Bielefeld2875162246-2426
17FC Koln2858152750-2323
18Schalke 04Schalke2827191871-5313

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