MX23RW : Friday, September 24 19:03:33| >> :120:42078:42078:
Jun 17, 2020 at 7.30pm UK at BayArena
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
FC KolnFC Koln
Bender (7'), Havertz (40'), Diaby (83')
Aranguiz (29'), Dragovic (45')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Bornauw (59')
Czichos (21'), Leistner (65')

Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. FC Koln - predictions, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and FC Koln, including team news and predicted lineups.

Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to maintain their position in the top four when they welcome FC Koln to the BayArena on Wednesday evening.

Leverkusen are aiming to recover from a disappointing 1-1 draw with Schalke, whereas Koln suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Union Berlin last time out.

Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz pictured in February 2019© Reuters

Peter Bosz's side would have been confident of picking up all three points when they travelled an out-of-sorts Schalke side, but Leverkusen could only manage a 1-1 draw with David Wagner's men on Sunday evening.

Schalke were very much the victims of their own downfall as Juan Miranda's own goal cancelled out Daniele Caligiuri's penalty, but that point was enough for Leverkusen to overtake Borussia Monchengladbach into the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Bosz's side now sit on 57 points - one ahead of Monchengladbach following their defeat to champions-elect Bayern Munich, and the Leverkusen faithful will be optimistic about their side's chances of maintaining their top-four standing with their final three fixtures all against teams in the bottom half of the table.

Die Werkself also have a DFB-Pokal final against Bayern to look forward to following their comfortable 3-0 semi-final win over fourth-tier side Saarbrucken, but as for now, Bosz will be aiming to avoid a third consecutive home defeat for his side in the German top flight.

Koln head coach Markus Gisdol pictured on May 27, 2020© Reuters

In contrast, Koln suffered their third defeat in four at the weekend as Union Berlin ended their winless run with a 2-1 victory in Koln's backyard.

Markus Gisdol's side now lie in 12th without a victory since the restart, but Koln's strong performances earlier in the campaign should be enough for them to cement their position in the Bundesliga for another season.

Indeed, the Billy Goats are seven points clear of the relegation zone prior to the final two weeks of the season, but Gisdol will no doubt be determined to get three points on the board for his own peace of mind.

Nevertheless, Koln have to be wary of Union Berlin and Augsburg both picking up victories at the weekend, and they are now only ahead of both sides on goal difference.

Gisdol's side can move up to 11th with a win should Hertha Berlin suffer defeat against Freiburg the day before, and there is every reason for Koln fans to be hopeful as the Billy Goats enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Leverkusen back in December.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: WWLWLD
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WLWLWD

Koln Bundesliga form: DDLLDL

Team News

Leon Bailey celebrates scoring for Bayern Leverkusen on November 30, 2019© Reuters

Leverkusen will be without the services of Lucas Alario after the forward chalked up his fifth booking of the season against Schalke, meaning that Kevin Volland could lead the line for Bosz's side.

Jonathan Tah is also pushing for a return to the defence, but Karim Bellarabi and Lars Bender both remain on the treatment table.

Leon Bailey missed out at the weekend for the birth of his son, although the 22-year-old is expected to return for Wednesday's fixture.

Noah Katterbach and Simon Terodde are still unavailable for Koln, but winger Ismail Jakobs could return having missed out at the weekend.

Gisdol will need to be wary of his side's discipline against Leverkusen, with Jonas Hector, Florian Kainz, Mark Uth and Ellyes Skhiri all one yellow card away from suspension.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Weiser, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell; Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz; Amiri, Havertz, Bailey; Volland

Koln possible starting lineup:
Horn; Ehizibue, Bornauw, Czichos, Schmitz; Hector, Skhiri; Drexler, Uth, Jakobs; Cordoba

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We say: Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 FC Koln

Leverkusen will be desperate to avoid any more slip ups as the race for the final Champions League spot hots up, and we expect the DFB-Pokal finalists to record a straightforward victory over a Koln side who are winless in seven matches.

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1Bayern MunichBayern54102041613
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7FC Koln52219728
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