FC Ingolstadt 04 vs Bayer Leverkusen Preview: Die Schanzer face must win fixture against underwhelming B04 in bid to avoid the drop

FC Ingolstadt 04 vs Bayer Leverkusen Preview: Die Schanzer face must win fixture against underwhelming B04 in bid to avoid the drop

The hosts know that a win would give them a huge boost in their bid to stay in the Bundesliga, with four points separating them from safety.

Jack McGraghan

Saturday afternoon sees relegation threatened FC Ingolstadt take on Bayer Leverkusen at Audi Sportpark, with the hosts in desperate need of three points to keep their survival hopes alive.

Die Schanzer sit four points away from safety and while Bayer Leverkusen themselves are not yet out of trouble, it is their opponents who are in much greater danger sitting in 17th place with 29 points to their name.

Ingolstadt's Bundesliga fate hangs in the balance

Maik Walpurgis' side have just three games left to pull off a surprise and beat the drop, with four points separating them from Hamburger SV, Wolfsburg and Mainz 05 who all sit on 33 points going into this gameweek.

With SV Darmstadt all but relegated there remains one automatic relegation spot left to be filled and Ingolstadt are currently the favourites for the drop, although that could all change if they secure victory tomorrow and other results go their way.

Walpurgis' men looked set to climb the Bundesliga table at the start of April with a three game win streak against Mainz, Augsburg and Darmstadt getting their survival bid underway, but since then they have failed to win in their last three although last week's 0-0 draw at second placed RB Leipzig offered a glimmer of hope.

Ingolstadt will need to summon a performance similar to the one that saw them run out 2-1 victors over Leverkusen in the reverse fixture, with club top scorer Almog Cohen netting winner on that night in December.

Korkut is looking for his second win as Leverkusen boss tomorrow.

B04 looking to put disappointing season behind them

It is no secret that this season has been a huge disappointment for Bayer Leverkusen, with last season's third placed side exiting the Champions League in the round of 16 while their poor league form sees them in 12th place meaning relegation is still a possibility although unlikely with three points distancing them from the play-off place.

Tayfun Korkut is the man in the hotseat until the end of the season after the club sacked Roger Schmidt at the beginning of March due to their poor league performance, although since taking over Korkut has won just once and that was at rock bottom Darmstadt in April.

One win in their last 12 games in all competitions is not something Leverkusen fans are used to with the club normally competing towards the top of the Bundesliga, so this campaign has certainly been a shock to the system.

The absence of attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu following his four month ban for breaching his contract while at Karlsruhe has had something to do with Leverkusen's poor form considering he is their joint second top scorer alongside Kevin Volland with six goals as well as five assists.

Team news

The hosts are expected to have three absentees from their squad tomorrow afternoon with Moritz Hartmann out due to injury while ever-present centre-back Roger and central midfielder Alfredo Morales are both suspended due to an accumulation of yellow cards and a sending off at RB Leipzig.

The visitors will be without captain Lars Bender and the aforementioned Calhanoglu with the former out with an injury, and in terms of doubts for tomorrow's game the club may be without Jonathan Tah, Julian Brandt and Omer Toprak leaving their defence thin in terms of numbers.

Predicted line-ups

FC Ingolstadt 04 (3-4-3): Hansen; Tisserand, Bregerie, Matip; Suttner, Christiansen, Cohen, Hadergjonaj; Kittel, Lezcano, Groß.

Bayer Leverkusen 04 (4-4-2): Leno; Hilbert, Jedvaj, Dragovic, Henrichs; Bellarabi, Kampl, Aranguiz, Mehmedi; Kießling, Volland.