Bayer Leverkusen will be aiming to continue their push for UEFA Champions League football on Sunday as they take on struggling Schalke.
Peter Bosz’s troops are currently sitting pretty in fifth position and have a great chance to enter Europe’s premier competition next season being only behind Bayer Leverkusen on goal difference. Ahead of their match this weekend, they can be backed at a price of 4/7 with Betfair to earn a top four finish come the end of the campaign.
Whilst Leverkusen are looking upwards at the table, Schalke are doing completely the opposite under David Wagner. The Royal Blues are without a Bundesliga victory since mid-January, their worst run of form in the top-flight for 27 years. That horrendous record has seen them plummet down the table and they now sit just ten points clear of 16th-placed Dusselfdorf. Whilst they should still have enough to remain in the Bundesliga, Schalke can still be backed at odds of 500/1 with William Hill to be relegated.
It goes without saying then that it’s crucial that Wagner’s troops get back to winning ways but it could well be difficult against Leverkusen. Schalke have only won two out of their last ten matches in all competitions against their weekend opponents, whilst Bosz’s men are undefeated in their last eight competitive matches on the road as they head to the VELTINS-Arena. Consequently, it is the visitors who are the overwhelming favourites to win the match. They can be backed at a price of 1/2 with Paddy Power to win the match, whilst Schalke are way out at 9/2 with a draw currently sitting at 10/3.
One man that the hosts will hope doesn’t feature is Kai Havertz. The German midfielder has been in wonderful form since the turn of the year having notched nine out of his 11 Bundesliga strikes this term. He was missing in Leverkusen’s recent 4-2 defeat against but could make his return this weekend and is available at 10/3 to net the opening goal of the game.
Whilst he could take to the field, Leverkusen still do have a few injury worries. Lars Bender is definitely out for the match, whilst Jonathan Tah is also doubtful.
Meanwhile, Schalke have also been hit with a few considerable blows. Top scorer Suat Serdar is out with a knee injury until at least September and joins fellow midfielders Benjamin Stambouli and Amine Harit on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Guido Burgstaller is also restricted to the treatment table with a serious knee injury. Omar Mascarell is also out but Weston McKennie, who has scored two out of Schalke’s three goals since March, is eligible to return from suspension. The American is at 22/1 to strike first.