Peter Boaz’s second half rebirth of the German Bundesliga’s form team, Bayer Leverkusen, comes under critical test when they travel to face league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Sunday in the division’s outstanding fixture.
Boaz is a former Dortmund boss brought in from the cold to mastermind a revival of the Bay Arena club’s fortunes following the dismissal of Heikko Herrlich.
His brief tenure has coincided with an upsurge in form that has propelled Leverkusen into fifth place, well in contention for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Dortmund have meanwhile stuttered to three successive draws, which has allowed Bayern Munich to slice their lead atop the standings to just three points.
Dortmund boss Lucien Favre will demand a reaction to Monday’s lackluster goalless stalemate at basement club Nuremberg, as it was the first time in over a dozen fixtures that the Signal Iduna Park outfit failed to hit the back of the net.
The Swiss tactician is definitely hoping four days of extra preps will count as Leverkusen go to Dortmund less than three days after confronting Russian side Krasnodar in the Europa League.
Six time defending titlists Bayern Munich have a chance pile up the pressure on Dortmund when they welcome Hertha Berlin to the Allianz Arena 24 hours earlier.
On Tuesday, Robert Kovac’s Bavarians impressed in holding Liverpool to a goalless draw in a Champions League rubber and are confident of replicating an extra time German Cup victory over the team from Berlin.
Bundesliga action however commences on Friday night with Werder Bremen hosting struggling Stuttgart. Bremen are strongly favoured to continue their unique record of scoring in every single league game this season. Bremen’s 40-year-old Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro, who last weekend became the oldest player to score in Germany’s top flight, will be itching for a slice of the action.
Champions League chasing Borussia Moenchengladbach must negotiate a potential banana skin at home to Wolfsburg on Saturday before rivals Eintracht Frankfurt travel to face relegation candidates Hannover a day later.
Julian Nagelsmann’s free scoring Hoffenheim confront Ralf Ragnick’s Red Bull Leipzig on Monday night.
-Werder Bremen v VfB Stuttgart @10:30pm
-Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin @5:30pm
-Gladbach v Wolfsburg @5:30pm
-Mainz v Schalke @5:30pm
-Freiburg v Augsburg @5:30pm
-Fortuna Düsseldorf v Nuremberg @8:30pm
-Hannover v Eintracht Frankfurt @5:30pm
-Borussia Dortmund v Bayer Leverkusen @8:00pm
-RB Leipzig v Hoffenheim @10:30pm