MX23RW : Friday, September 17 15:33:27| >> :120:14899:14899:
Feb 6, 2021 at 2.30pm UK at BayArena
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
5-2
StuttgartStuttgart
Demirbay (18', 31'), Bailey (56'), Wirtz (68'), Gray (84')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Kalajdzic (50', 77')

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

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

Bayer Leverkusen take on Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Friday, with the hosts looking to bounce back after three successive defeats in all competitions.

Stuttgart, meanwhile, can move into the top half of the table with a victory.


Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz before the match on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Indeed, after looking like challenging Bayern Munich for the title prior to the winter break, Leverkusen have dramatically fallen away in recent weeks.

Leverkusen were second best in the 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig last weekend, although Florian Wirtz and Lucas Alario both significantly tested Peter Gulasci from close range either side of half time.

Leipzig could have scored more goals themselves, though, with Marcel Sabitzer's opener disallowed for offside and the midfielder striking the bar from distance late on. The winner came via Christopher Nkunku's brilliant touch and strike past Lukas Hradecky, with Alexander Sorloth hitting the post moments later.

Things went from bad to worse for Leverkusen in midweek with an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Rot-Weiss Essen in the DFB-Pokal after extra time. The fourth-tier side held Bosz's side to a goalless draw after normal time, with Leon Bailey's strike moments before the half-time interval of extra time looking like sinking RWE's hearts.

However, Oguzhan Kefkir and Simon Engelmann both struck to produce a historically incredible comeback and victory, with Leverkusen's morale now surely at an all-time low heading into the game against Stuttgart on Saturday.

 VfB Stuttgart coach Pellegrino Matarazzo pictured on January 16, 2021© Reuters

Stuttgart, meanwhile, were buoyed by finally recording their first home win of the season with a comfortable 2-0 victory over struggling Mainz 05.

An interesting but goalless first half burst into the life after the break, with Borna Sosa's gorgeous cross headed home by Sasa Kalajdzic to open the scoring. Silas Wamangituka highlighted his phenomenal quality to seal a crucial three points for Stuttgart, running from his own penalty area before cutting inside Mainz's half-hearted defenders and firing into the near post.

Wamangituka was at it again in midweek by scoring after only two minutes in the DFB-Pokal third round home tie against Borussia Monchengladbach, but strikes from Marcus Thuram and Alassane Plea either side of half time saw Stuttgart disappointingly crash out of the competition.

However, given that Pellegrino Matarazzo's side have won half of their 10 away matches this season, they will have every confidence of pouring further misery on Leverkusen on Sunday, and they may look to blitz them from the outset.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form: LDLWLL
Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions): WLWLLL

Stuttgart Bundesliga form: LWDLLW
Stuttgart form (all competitions): WDLLW


Team News

Stuttgart's Gonzalo Castro celebrates with teammates after scoring against Eintracht Frankfurt on November 7, 2020© Reuters

Leverkusen's woes have been condemned by the possibility of missing Leon Bailey, Moussa Diaby and Nadiem Amiri through illness against Stuttgart.

Lars Bender, Julian Baumgartlinger, Mitchell Weiser, Sven Bender, Santiago Arias and Paulinho will all definitely miss out through injury, with Bosz's options rapidly diminishing.

Stuttgart, meanwhile, suffered the blow of losing Gonzalo Castro to a hamstring injury in the win over Mainz, with the midfielder likely to miss the rest of February.

Clinton Mola, Lilian Egloff and Hamadi Al Ghaddioui remain sidelined.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Fosu-Mensah, Tah, Tapsoba, Wendell; Sinkgraven, Demirbay, Aranguiz; Bellarabi, Alario, Wirtz

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf; Coulibaly, Endo, Mangala, Sosa; Wamangituka, Gonzalez; Kalajdzic


SM words green background

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 1-3 Stuttgart

With Leverkusen potentially missing a whole host of first-team options, we can envisage Stuttgart blowing the hosts away.

The absence of Castro will be a blow, but the likes of Wamangituka and Nicolas Gonzalez could be too hot for Leverkusen to handle in their current crisis of confidence.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away 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/Away:data


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Bayer Leverkusen players celebrate Moussa Diaby's goal against Borussia Dortmund on January 19, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Wolfsburg440061512
2Bayern MunichBayern4310134910
3Borussia DortmundDortmund430113949
4Mainz 0543016249
5Freiburg42206428
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen421112667
7FC Koln42118627
8Union BerlinUnion Berlin41305416
9Hoffenheim41128714
10Stuttgart411289-14
11Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach411258-34
12RB Leipzig410356-13
13VfL BochumVfL Bochum410346-23
14Arminia Bielefeld403135-23
15Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt403147-33
16Hertha Berlin4103511-63
17Augsburg402218-72
18Greuther Furth4013211-91

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