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Nov 20, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
B. LeverkusenBayer Leverkusen
VfL BochumVfL Bochum
Adli (4')
Frimpong (30'), Diaby (49'), Adli (87')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Masovic (63'), Soares (90+1')

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

:Headline: Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. VfL Bochum - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Bayer Leverkusen and VfL Bochum, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to regain their early-season form when they welcome VfL Bochum to the BayArena in their Bundesliga encounter on Saturday.

A blistering start to the campaign has been followed by an alarming dip in the weeks prior to the international break, whilst the visitors' form has turned around in the opposite direction during their recent resurgence.

Match preview

Leverkusen boss Gerardo Seoane will have welcomed the international break with open arms over the last couple of weeks, with the break providing an opportunity for his side to hit the reset button and also to regain the availability of a couple of important first-team players that have been sidelined in recent weeks.

Eight wins and just a single defeat from his opening 10 competitive matches had meant it was a near-perfect start to the Swiss manager's tenure, before the top-of-the-table clash with reigning champions Bayern Munich brought Die Werkself crashing back down to earth.

Including the 5-1 humiliation in front of their own supporters against the Bavarians, Leverkusen have won just one of their last seven fixtures across all competitions, with the lows of that reality check feeding into the six matches that have followed.

As a result, Saturday's hosts have slipped from second in the table, where they were level on points with Bayern heading into that clash at the time, to a disappointing position of sixth as things stand, with 10 points now separating themselves and leaders Bayern at the summit.

However, a win over relegation-candidates Bochum on Saturday can lift Leverkusen back into the top four, with a Champions League spot the primary aim after missing out on Europe's biggest stage for the past two campaigns.

Seoane's side will be expected to return to winning ways at the BayArena, against an opponent that they have not faced in a competitive meeting for over 11 years.

Whilst the international break came at a perfect time for Saturday's home side, the visitors will have been frustrated by the interruption to their excellent form leading up to it.

Thomas Reis' side have won three of their last four Bundesliga fixtures, after previously winning just one of their opening seven on their return to the top flight.

An appearance in Germany's leading division has been hard to come by for Die Unabsteigbaren, with this campaign being their first since their relegation in 2009-10.

However, after their troubled start to the campaign saw Bochum occupy second-from-bottom in the relegation zone, the three recent wins have lifted the expected strugglers into 12th place at the time of writing, with four points separating themselves and Augsburg in the relegation playoff position.

The most recent of these wins, all of which have been via a 2-0 scoreline, arrived last time out before the break against European-hopefuls Hoffenheim, with Soma Novothny and Milos Pantovic on the scoresheet in another impressive display that saw Manuel Riemann also miss a penalty.

Whilst the results have been promising, the nature of the performances will be what have impressed Reis the most, with his side creating a great deal of chances in each of their recent encounters compared to the early parts of the season, whilst also remaining defensively solid at the back.

That compactness will be required again on Saturday against strong opponents, but Reis will take his side there full of confidence, despite the international break pausing their recent momentum.

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

Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D

VfL Bochum Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

VfL Bochum form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

As mentioned above, the hosts will have been hoping that the international break was an ideal time for a number of first-team players to recover from injuries in previous weeks.

Young starlet Florian Wirtz is one of the first names on the team sheet at present, and Seoane will be hoping that the 18-year-old midfielder has recovered from a muscular injury that kept him out of the 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin last time out.

Top goalscorer Patrik Schick is expected to remain out due to his ankle injury, and if the striker does miss out, he will join Mitchel Bakker, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Julian Baumgartlinger on the sidelines.

Lucas Alario, Karim Bellarabi and Charles Aranguiz are listed as doubts, and were Alario to miss out along with Schick again, Amine Adli could continue in the striker role.

Meanwhile, Bochum will be sweating on the fitness of Danny Blum ahead of their trip to Leverkusen, with the winger coming off in the first half of their win over Hoffenheim due to a thigh strain.

Pantovic could take his place after his goal from the bench in that game, whilst Novothny could also earn a starting spot in place of Sebastian Polter up front.

Simon Zoller is a long-term absentee, whilst Saulo Decarli, Gerrit Holtmann, Robert Tesche, Tom Wielandt, Paul Grave and Michael Esser remain doubts.

Bayer Leverkusen possible starting lineup:
Hradecky; Frimpong, Tah, Tapsoba, Hincapie; Andrich, Palacios; Diaby, Demirbay, Paulinho; Adli

VfL Bochum possible starting lineup:
Riemann; Stafylidis, Masovic, Lampropoulos, Soares; Lowen, Losilla, Rexhbecaj; Asano, Novothny, Pantovic

We say: Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 VfL Bochum

The outcome of this one could depend on the potential returns of the likes of Wirtz and Schick for the hosts, with Leverkusen sorely feeling their absences prior to the international break.

Regardless of their availability, they will be expected to win this one fairly comfortably against a side of Bochum's calibre, but considering the form of the two sides we believe that the scoreline could be much tighter, with the hosts narrowly edging out their visitors.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data

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