Schalke v Leverkusen Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 19/12/18

Schalke v Leverkusen Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews Schalke 04 v Bayer Leverkusen and provides us with his best bets for Wednesday evening’s Bundesliga clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

Schalke 04v Bayer Leverkusen Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 19/12/18
  • Time: 17:30
  • Venue: Arena AufSchalke
  • Channel: BT Sport 3

In what is usually a clash of two contenders for Champions League places, both sides find themselves in the bottom half of the table coming into Wednesday’s game.

After losing their opening six games, Schalke find themselves in an unexpected position of 13th after finishing 2nd in the Bundesliga last season. Albeit about 20 points off winners Bayern Munich. Leverkusen have also endured a difficult first half to the season, capturing only 18 points from their first 15 games. However, they are slightly better off than Schalke in 11th.

Schalke’s league position is even more shocking when you look at all their summer business. Sebastien Rudy, Suat Serdar and Omar Mascarell were brought in to fill the void left by Leon Goretzka, who left on a free transfer to Bayern Munich. It’s clear to see that they haven’t recovered from the loss of their star man. Salif Sane was also brought in from Hannover in the summer to add to a relatively strong centre-back group with Matija Nastasic and the experienced Naldo.

Their distinct lack of a goal-scorer has also been an issue with midfielder Nabil Bentaleb being their top-scorer with three penalties. Out-and-out strikers like Burgstaller, Di Santo, Uth and even Embolo have contributed to just 5 goals this season. Uth is the only player out of that list to register an assist in the Bundesliga this season.

After finishing in fifth last season, Leverkusen have also massively underachieved. They have a very talented squad on paper with the likes of Tah, Jedvaj, Weiser, Brandt, Bellarabi and Volland all among their ranks. Some of their attacking threats have had pretty strong starts to the season with Volland- 5G, 2A, Bellarabi- 4G,1A and Kai Havertz- 4G, 2A. Maybe what is missing is the form of Leon Bailey.

The young Jamaican lit up the Bundesliga last season, scoring 9 and setting up 6 for Leverkusen last season but only managing 1 of each this time round. The winger is also on track to play considerably fewer minutes compared to last season. His current tally in the league is 731 minutes whereas last season he notched up 2,219 Bundesliga minutes.

On a positive note, both sides were able to qualify to the knockout rounds of their respective European tournaments. Schalke qualified in 2nd in their group and will face Premier League holders Man City in the UCL last 16 whilst Leverkusen finished top of their Europa League group and were drawn with Russian side Krasnodar for the last 32.

Team News

Schalke will still be without a number of attacking options for this clash against Leverkusen. Franco Di Santo, Guido Burgstaller and Mark Uth are all likely to remain sidelined. On a positive note, Swiss international Breel Donald Embolo is expected to return after the winter break after nursing a broken toe. Matija Nastasic could also return to the starting line-up after serving a one- game suspension for accumulating 5 yellow cards.

As for Leverkusen, they may still be without Lars Bender with a thigh injury. The German missed out in Leverkusen’s 2-1 defeat to Frankfurt on Sunday and will be a big loss for this already underperforming side.

Potential Schalke Starting XI: Fahrmann, Naldo, Sane, Nastasic, Caligiuri, Serdar, Rudy, Bentaleb, Oczipka, McKennie, Teuchert.

Potential Leverkusen Starting XI: Hradecky, Weiser, Tah, S.Bender, Jedvaj, Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz, Bellarabi, Havertz, Brandt, Volland.

Head To Head

  • Schalke-9 wins, Draw-7, Leverkusen-13 wins.
  • Schalke haven’t beaten Leverkusen at home in their last four meetings, losing three of them.

Key Stats & Facts

  • Schalke are only three points of the ‘relegation play-off position’, Leverkusen are six points off.
  • 19-year old Kai Havertz has scored 4 and set up 2 for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this season.
  • Midfielder Nabil Bentaleb is Schalke’s top-scorer with only 3 goals- all of which are penalties.
  • BTTS in Schalke’s last four games.
  • The home side have also underperformed in front of goal, scoring 16 but having an xG of 20.79.
  • Schalke have already lost 8 games this season, one more than they achieved all of last season.

Betting Odds

  • Schalke 6/4
  • Draw 23/10
  • Bayer Leverkusen 17/10

The Verdict

With Schalke missing a number of attacking options for this game and with Leverkusen relatively healthy, I’m confident that Leverkusen will get a result on Wednesday. I expect the likes of Havertz, Volland, Brandt and Bellarabi to cause problems for a pretty average defence that has kept only one clean sheet at home this season. However, Leverkusen’s poor defensive record this season has convinced me to play it a little bit safer and go for the ‘draw no bet’ market 21/20.

In Bundesliga games this season, Leverkusen has the second highest average number of corners per game at 11.27. Despite Schalke’s being lower at 9.73, the average is still above the 9.5 target which I think is good value just over evens.

Recommended Bets

  • Leverkusen Draw No Bet – 21/20 (Betfair)
  • Over 9.5 corners- 21/20 (Sporting Bet)