Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Union Berlin

Preview: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Union Berlin

Bayer Leverkusen will be hoping to regain some consistency in their Bundesliga campaign when they return from Germany’s winter break against Union Berlin on Saturday.

The hosts finished 2021 poorly but still remain on course for a successful season, whilst the visitors will be hopeful of repeating a successful calendar year by beginning the new one brightly at the BayArena.

Despite consistency issues on occasion this season, Gerardo Seoane’s first half of the campaign in charge of Leverkusen can be viewed as a positive one following his arrival last summer.

A blistering opening couple of months saw Die Werkself unexpectedly challenging Bayern Munich for the title, but following a damaging defeat to their competitors, the wheels briefly fell off their bright start.

Following a five-game winless spell during October, Seoane’s side regained their form during an excellent November but once again fell away during December prior to the winter break.

Three defeats and a draw across their last four fixtures in all competitions of 2021 mean Leverkusen are out of the title race completely, with 15 points now separating themselves from Bayern at the summit.

However, a title challenge was neither expected or deemed a realistic possibility for the Swiss boss, and after missing out on the Champions League in each of the last two seasons, a return to the European grand stage was always the aim.

Heading into Saturday’s clash with Union, the hosts occupy fourth spot in the table, but though that means the goal has been achieved as things stand, just seven points separating third from 10th means that situation could change very quickly indeed unless they can begin a consistent run of form starting at the weekend.

Meanwhile, the quietly consistent Union enjoyed an extremely impressive 2021, with last year’s seventh-placed finish earning them a spot in the debut Europa Conference League campaign this season.

Although Urs Fischer’s side were eliminated from the group stage of that tournament prior to the winter break, Union remained strong in the Bundesliga once more.

As a result, Die Eisernen begin 2022 in seventh spot as well, just one point behind Saturday’s opponents in the Champions League places.

Despite huge differences in budget and overall quality compared to many of their divisional rivals, Union have continued to perform above expectations over the last couple of years, but a successful start to the new year will be difficult to achieve if recent meetings with Leverkusen are anything to go by.

Just one win has been registered against their hosts in their last seven meetings across all competitions, and with just the two victories from their opening eight league games on the road this season, Fischer will be aware of the sizeable task his team faces at the weekend.

However, with one of these away wins arriving last time out before the break, in a 1-0 success at VfL Bochum, Union arrive at the BayArena looking to repeat that feat.

Bayer Leverkusen Bundesliga form:
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Bayer Leverkusen form (all competitions):
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Union Berlin Bundesliga form:
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Union Berlin form (all competitions):
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We say: Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Union Berlin
With Leverkusen possessing home advantage, as well as Union missing their top goalscorer, we are predicting a comfortable win for the hosts on Saturday.

Union are always difficult to beat but remain a different side away from home, so if Leverkusen can recapture their best form from earlier in the campaign, they will prove too much for the visitors.

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