Bayer Leverkusen will be looking to keep hold of their European spot they host FC Koln in the Bundesliga on Saturday at 5:30pm (UK time).
Hannes Wolf’s side are currently sixth, four points clear of Union Berlin, while FC Koln are fighting relegation.
How to live stream Bayer Leverkusen vs FC Koln online:
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Where to watch Bayer Leverkusen vs FC Koln on TV:
- UK: BT Sport 2
- US: ESPN+
Scoreline prediction: Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 FC Koln
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Bayer Leverkusen vs FC Koln build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Just before Christmas, Bayer Leverkusen were among those fighting for the Bundesliga title, unbeaten going into the final game of the first half of the season and top of the league. But they were beaten by Bayern Munich and have spiralled massively. Their fall was so big it cost Peter Bosz his job, with Wolf replacing him on an interim basis, and Champions League football seems a pipe dream with nine points separating them and fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt. As things stand it’s the Europa Conference League for them, but they will be wary of the chasing Union Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach.
For Koln, the final six games of the season is all about their battle against relegation. The Billy Goats are three points from safety and still very much in with a chance of staying in the Bundesliga for another season but they are not in good form. Koln have lost six of their past eight Bundesliga matches, drawing the remaining two, and were beaten 3-2 by Mainz last time out, missing the opportunity to move out of the relegation zone. As a result, they sacked Markus Gisdol, replacing him with Friedhelm Funkel.
- Bayer Leverkusen (vs Hoffenheim): Hradecky; Tapsoba, S Bender, Jedvaj; Diaby, Aranguiz, Palacios, Wendell; Demirbay, Wirtz; Alario.
- FC Koln (vs Mainz): Horn; Ehizibue, Mere, Czichos, Katterbach; Hector, Skhiri; Wolf, Duda*, Kainz; Andersson.
Leverkusen’s absentee list is shrinking but they remain without Santiago Arias, Lars Bender, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Julian Baumgartlinger, while Paulinho is a doubt.
Duda is suspended for FC Koln after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, joining Ismail Jakobs on the sidelines. Sebastian Andersson and Jorge Mere are both doubts after picking up injuries last week.
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Player to watch: Sven Bender (Bayer Leverkusen)
Leverkusen haven’t been good in 2021 but they have managed to find some form with Sven Bender in the team. The 31-year-old, who is set to retire at the end of the season alongside twin brother Lars, has been in and out of the squad due to injuries.
But when he is in the team, and on the pitch, Leverkusen have been better than when he is missing. Playing 13 times in the Bundesliga this season, Bender is still unbeaten with Leverkusen, winning seven and drawing six. No other Bundesliga player has played as often in 2020/21 without losing than Bender.
In the remaining 15 games Bender hasn’t played, Leverkusen’s record reads as five wins, two draws and eight defeats. He’ll be hoping his presence in the team can inspire them to European football as he bows out.
Bundesliga 2020/21 recent form:
- Bayer Leverkusen: DWLLW
- FC Koln: LLDLD
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