Sunday’s Bundesliga action gets underway at the BayArena as bottom-half underachievers Bayer Leverkusen meet top-four hopefuls Union Berlin.
Xabi Alonso’s first foray into the realm of management was off to a flying start as he inspired Leverkusen to a thumping 4-0 victory over Schalke 04 on his touchline debut.
However, the Spaniard has since failed to show the demolition of last season’s Bundesliga 2. winners wasn’t just a beginner’s luck, with his men continuing to stumble on all fronts.
A goalless home draw with Club Brugge in midweek Champions League action helped Die Werkself secure a third-place finish in Group B and acquire a spot in the Europ League knock-out play-off round.
That’s probably the only positive takeaway from Alonso’s early tenure at the BayArena, as his lads head into this fixture winless in six competitive games (D3, L3).
Leverkusen’s rough patch must be music to Union’s ears amid their bid to reclaim their spot at the of the tree after Bayern Munich’s 3-2 win at Hertha BSC demoted them to second.
Many had thought a 2-1 defeat to early relegation candidates Bochum could ignite Die Eisernen’s fall from grace, only for Urs Fischer’s side to silence their doubters the following week.
Despite finding themselves 1-0 down with less than 15 minutes left on the clock, Union staged a stunning late comeback to beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 at home last week.
Fischer’s men picked up where they left off in midweek Europa League action, eking out a massive 1-0 victory at Royale Union SG to earn a berth in the competition’s knock-out play-off round.
Gerardo Seoane’s dismissal in October has not changed anything for Leverkusen, who enter this round two points adrift of safety amid the club’s second-worst Bundesliga start.
Die Werkself have accrued just nine points from the opening 12 matchdays (W2, D3, L7), though they can dream big after avoiding defeat in their last three home league outings (W1, D2).
Leverkusen’s hopes of getting their stuttering top-flight campaign back on track face a stern test, yet an eye-catching return of one loss from nine competitive H2Hs against Union (W5, D3) sounds promising.
While you can regard Leverkusen’s season as a complete disaster, there’s hardly a word of praise you can use to describe Union’s Bundesliga start and not make it look like an understatement.
Last season’s fifth-place finish wasn’t a fluke, as evidenced by the visitors’ 83% unbeaten ratio across the opening 12 Bundesliga rounds (W8, D2, L2).
But there’s still room for improvement, especially on the road, where Union’s last four top-flight games have fluctuated between victories and defeats (W2, L2).
Bayer Leverkusen vs Union Berlin Potential Line-ups
Bayer Leverkusen (3-4-3): Lucas Hradecky; Jonathan Tah, Edmond Tapsoba, Piero Hincapie; Jeremie Frimpong, Robert Andrich, Kerem Demirbay, Mitchell Bakker; Moussa Diaby, Patrik Schick, Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Union Berlin (3-5-2): Frederik Ronnow; Danilho Doekhi, Robin Knoche, Diogo Leite; Christopher Trimmel, Genki Haraguchi, Rani Khedira, Janik Haberer, Julian Ryerson; Sherlado Becker, Jordan Siebatcheu.
How to Watch?
Hoffenheim vs Bayern, along with all other 2022/23 Bundesliga fixtures, is available to watch live online via live Bundesliga streaming.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Union Berlin Prediction
Tired legs could pose a genuine threat to Union’s hopes of defying their uneventful H2H record against Leverkusen, who have had an additional two-day rest.
We expect an intense game with plenty of flying tackles in the middle of the park but not as many clear-cut chances.
Union have flourished in such an environment this season, so we back them for success.
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Union Berlin
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