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

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

Bayer Leverkusen take on Union Berlin in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with both sides looking to secure European qualification places.

A point would all but ensure that Leverkusen qualify for the Europa League, while Union Berlin need to win to be able to overtake Leverkusen on the final day of the campaign.

Match preview

Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Leverkusen missed an excellent opportunity to mathematically confirm their place in next season's Europa League by failing to beat Werder Bremen in a 0-0 draw away from home last weekend.

Bremen had lost seven successive Bundesliga matches ahead of the meeting and had slipped perilously close to the relegation places as a result, with Florian Kohfeldt understandably setting his side up to avoid yet another defeat.

The onus was on Hannes Wolf's side to break the hosts down, then, which they ultimately failed to do. Leon Bailey fired straight at Jiri Pavlenka in the early exchanges, while Florian Wirtz's simple finish from close range was correctly disallowed due to the Leverkusen midfielder's foot being in an offside position.

Wendell spurned Leverkusen's only clear-cut chance in the second half, with Pavlenka grateful to see another effort fly comfortably within his vicinity. Eren Dinkci saw red in injury time for a cynical foul on Nadiem Amiri, but there was simply not enough time remaining for Wolf's side to take advantage.

Another draw would probably suit the 40-year-old fine on Saturday, though, as it would ensure that they head into the final day at least three points clear of Borussia Monchengladbach while possessing a superior goal difference.

Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer reacts in February 2021© Reuters

Union Berlin, however, must beat Leverkusen on Saturday if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the Europa League, although they will still have a chance of competing in Europe for the first time in the club's history if they can finish seventh to qualify for next season's inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.

Urs Fischer's side are level on points with Gladbach, who currently occupy the Conference League qualification position, but remain behind them on goal difference after both sides lost last weekend.

Indeed, Wolfsburg proved too strong for Union Berlin, with Josip Brekalo scoring his first ever Bundesliga hat-trick. The Croatian forward put the Wolves into an early lead with a whipped strike into the top corner from outside of the area, before adding two scrappier efforts after the break to secure an important win for his side.

Given that this is still only Union Berlin's second ever Bundesliga campaign, it has been a successful one for Fischer and his players regardless of what happens in their final two matches.

However, having been in the top half of the table for the vast majority of the season, the 55-year-old will be keen to finish there, with any place in Europe representing a sizable cherry on top of that achievement.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey celebrates scoring against Arminia Bielefeld in the Bundesliga on November 21, 2020© Reuters

Leverkusen lost Bailey, Daley Sinkgraven and Kerem Demirbay to injury during the draw against Bremen, with Moussa Diaby, Wendell and Charles Aranguiz likely to replace them from the start against Union Berlin.

Lucas Alario, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Lars Bender, Julian Baumgartlinger and Santiago Arias all remain sidelined and are unlikely to feature again this season.

Union Berlin, meanwhile, had to substitute Marcus Ingvartsen against Wolfsburg due to a muscle problem, with Keita Endo, Julian Ryerson and Marius Bulter hoping to replace him from the start against Leverkusen.

Jakob Busk, Florian Hubner, Grischa Promel, Cedric Teuchert, Leon Dajaku and Anthony Ujah are all injury doubts and are unlikely to travel to Leverkusen, but Max Kruse should be fit to start after recovering from his knock.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Tah, Dragovic, Tapsoba, Wendell; Aranguiz, Palacios; Bellarabi, Wirtz, Diaby; Schick

Union Berlin possible starting lineup:
Luthe; Friedrich, Knoche, Schlotterbeck; Trimmel, Lenz, Gentner, Griesbeck, Ryerson; Kruse, Pohjanpalo

SM words green background

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Union Berlin

We can envisage a closely fought affair, with Leverkusen ultimately getting the point which they will likely be looking for in order to take a huge step towards Europa League qualification.

Indeed, they have been much tougher to beat since Wolf replaced Peter Bosz as interim manager last month, while only four sides have lost fewer Bundesliga games than Union Berlin this season.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data

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Todays Game Header Right
CBayern MunichBayern34246499445578
2RB Leipzig34198760322865
3Borussia DortmundDortmund342041075462964
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt341612669531660
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen3414101053391452
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin34121485043750
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach341310116456849
12Mainz 0534109153956-1739
14Hertha Berlin34811154152-1135
15Arminia Bielefeld3498172652-2635
16FC Koln3489173460-2633
RWerder Bremen34710173657-2131
RSchalke 04Schalke3437242586-6116

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