Football expert Ryan Elliott has picked out two tips for Saturday's game between Borussia Monchengladbach and Leverkusen
This should be an absolute belter. In this weekend’s marquee game, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen square off in a season-defining clash. A top four finish is the primary aim for Gladbach (3rd) and Leverkusen (5th), but while Bayern are looking imperious at the top of the table, neither side can be counted out of the title race just yet.
Gladbach and Leverkusen both put in fantastic displays in their last outings—against Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen respectively—and it’s clear that goals won’t be in short supply this weekend.
Saturday’s hosts shell-shocked Eintracht last week, scoring twice within seven minutes, while Leverkusen looked like they’d score every time they went forward against a shambolic Bremen side, with Kai Havertz looking particularly good – picking up from where he left off pre-postponement.
Both sides have won three games apiece in their last six meetings, and considering how well they re-acquainted themselves with the football pitch on their return last week, a result looks simply too difficult to call.
Therefore, rather than plumping for a 50:50 result, I’m going down the goals route, and backing over 3.5 goals in the match.
Leverkusen, with their incise passing and devastating wing play, will fancy their chances against a Gladbach side with just five clean sheets this season (though their defence overall is pretty good, conceding just 31 in total), while Gladbach possess the likes of Alassane Plea, Marcus Thuram and Breel Embolo – who have 23 goals between them.
Furthermore, five of Leverkusen’s last nine league games have seen over three goals, while five of Gladbach’s last eight have seen the same result.
Neither side will be afraid of attacking, and as a result, we could be in for a thriller.
After scoring two brilliant headers on Monday (albeit aided by Bremen’s horrendous defending), it’s clear that Kai Havertz means business for the rest of the season.
Leverkusen’s talismanic wonder-kid has scored eight times this campaign, and if he continues getting service on Saturday like he did from Moussa Diaby against Bremen, he’ll score many more before the end of the season.
With top-scorer Kevin Volland unlikely to be fully fit, Havertz will be Peter Bosz’s main man for goals, which is why I fancy backing him to score first (each-way, to net a profit if he scores at any time).
Home advantage counts for little these days, and Havertz to open the scoring looks like a solid bet.