Dortmund travel to the BayArena tomorrow looking for their first win in three games after defeat last weekend at home in the Borussen Derby before being held by Valencia on Wednesday night in the Champions League.
Mats Hummels (left) is unavailable as he serves a one-match ban for his dismissal for two yellow cards last Sunday, while Robert Lewandowski misses out having been substituted in midweek after suffering a bruised rib during a heavy challenge.
Surman may continue to use the new 4-1-2-1-2 formation that looked dominant on Wednesday night until changes of personnel were forced upon him, and that may see a young central midfielder like Samy Bourard or Jeremy Dudziak make the bench.
Mario Götze is a minor doubt after a heavy challenge on Wednesday, so Marco Reus or Ivan Perisic may play behind the front two of Steven Jovetic and last season’s top-scorer Julian Schieber who’ll make his first league start of the campaign.
After today’s results (see below), Dortmund will kick-off tomorrow down in 15th place only having played two matches, A win could lift them into the top five with a game in hand. Leverkusen would go top with a point ahead of the evening matches.
Leverkusen have six points from their opening three league games this season, which sees them start tomorrow’s match in fourth place where they finished last season. They bounced back from an opening day defeat at Bayern Munich with wins over Mainz and Hoffenheim.
They had to settle for Europa League football though, after defeat at the final hurdle to Standard Liège, losing 1-3 in Belgium after a 2-1 first leg win in the CL Playoffs. Liège, coincidentally, being drawn with Dortmund in the Champions League the next day. Leverkusen played their opening group game on Thursday night, drawing 0-0 in Amsterdam against Ajax.
Last season’s top-scorer Stefan Kießling is out with a hernia for another fortnight, while right-sided midfielder Christopher Quiring will be absent for the rest of the month as he makes a recovery from a broken cheekbone. BVB legend Lars Ricken has singled-out Chilean striker Junior Fernandes as their key man tomorrow.
The rivalry between the two sides has been dialled-up this summer with Dortmund’s purchase of Lars Bender and André Schürrle, with Moritz Leitner (left) and Mitchell Langerak going in the opposite direction. Leitner is likely to start having been ever-present so far this season.
52 weeks ago, Leverkusen won this fixture 3-2 after Dortmund had an early goal chalked-off for a wrong offside call. Schürrle put the hosts in front before Lewandowski and Viktor Fischer put Dortmund 2-1 up. Philipp Wollschied equalised almost immediately, before Junior Fernandes won it in the final fifteen minutes.
The sides last met in February, playing out a 0-0 draw that saw Dortmund have the ball in the net three times but ruled-out each time. Two offside decisions sandwiching Perisic having a header disallowed for a foul on the ‘keeper
Tomorrow’s referee will be Günter Perl from Munich, who was last in action on Wednesday in Dublin where Shamrock Rovers hosted PSG in the Champions League. He took charge of Dortmund twice last season, both at home, for the 4-0 defeat of Werder Bremen and the 2-2 draw with Mainz, cautioning four players (1 for Dortmund) and awarding a penalty to the champions.
In the weekend press conference, Dortmund manager Gray Surman was asked about players returning to their former clubs.
“André Schürrle has hit the ground running with us, I’m pleased with how he has bedded in so well and I’m sure the fans are too.
“Moritz Leitner is a good friend and we’ll certainly catch up after the match. I’m sure he’d like to haunt his former employers, just as Lars [Bender] and André would want to, but hopefully we can spoil his day.
Sunday 21 September: Bayer Leverkusen v. Borussia Dortmund (1.Bundesliga, BayArena).
SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2014: FC NÜRNBERG 2-0 TSG HOFFENHEIM Hlousek 34 Søderlund 75 HANNOVER 2-0 FSV MAINZ Rausch 36 Sobiech 61 SV WERDER BREMEN 1-1 EINTRACHT FRANKFURT Chibuike 12 Voronin 11 VFL WOLFSBURG 1-0 AUGSBURG Djuricic 30