Bayer Leverkusen vs Stuttgart
Bayer Leverkusen have been hot and cold this season and their 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig last time out means they return from the international break with just one win from their last six Bundesliga outings (W1 D2 L3). Only their recent DFB Pokal and UEFA Europa League successes distract from their second-worst ever start to a Bundesliga campaign. You have to note, however, that Leverkusen were without form man Karim Bellarabi (pictured) against Leipzig, and his expected return from injury this weekend only adds to their strength going forward – Die Werkself also have the likes of Volland, Brandt, and Havertz in that regard. Leverkusen’s defence, on the other hand, has seen better times.
Stuttgart haven’t had much but negatives in the 18/19 season either. Despite a 2-0 win in Nurnberg last time out, the South Germans remain grounded at the bottom of the table following just one win in eleven games (W2 D2 L7). Former-Schalke 04 boss Markus Weinzierl took over from Tayfun Korkut during the October international break, but he hasn’t really had much of an impact yet – a small win against a newly promoted side doesn’t count for much – and their fixtures aren’t getting any easier. It’s early doors for the new boss, but turning around this struggling Stuttgart side would be a difficult task for anyone, let alone for a manager with just a 36.5% lifetime win rate.
So where does that leave us ahead of this game? Well, after looking over everything, there looks to be some value in backing this match to end with over 2.5 goals for the following reasons: Stuttgart’s poor scoring form might look a turn off at first, but you have to note that their failure to get on the score-sheet in three of their last four has been against some of the better defences in the Bundesliga (Dortmund, Frankfurt and Hoffenheim). Finding the back of the net against Leverkusen will be a much easier ask. Not only do Die Werkself have the second worst defensive record in the league (24 goals conceded), but they’ve also conceded two goals or more in five of their last six Bundesliga outings. Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez is one player in particular that should like his chances.
Digging deeper into the stats, it’s easy to see why Leverkusen and Stuttgart are struggling so badly. Just four teams have conceded more shots on target than Leverkusen, and unsurprisingly, Stuttgart is one of those! Expect this to be an end-to-end match with plenty of opportunity in front of goal for both sides. And yet even though the odds look somewhat short for a Leverkusen win, it’s hard to see the visitors getting anything from this game. Stuttgart haven’t taken any points away from any of their five fixtures against sides that finished in the top half last season (L5) and they conceded at least two goals in all of these. Our prediction: 2-1 Leverkusen.