Union Berlin vs Bayer Leverkusen preview: Die Eisernen have the chance to start the campaign right note

Urs Fischer's Union side face a suspension and injury struck Bayer Leverkusen on the opening matchday of the Bundesliga season, Die Eisernen will be licking their lips at the thought of starting an exciting campaign with a win.

Leverkusen will be without a number of players through injury and suspension.

Injuries & Suspensions: 

Timothy Fosu-Mensah will be side-lined for the 13th match in a row as a result of rupturing a ligament, whilst Jonathan Tah misses out due to a suspension that carried on from last season.

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Meanwhile, their frontline will have taken a blow as Karim Bellarabi and Lucas Allairo are also set to be in the stands for the first game.

However, for Union, Fischer will have almost a full squad to select his starting XI to start the season.

Die Eisernen lined up in a 3-4-3 formation in their first round win in the DFB-Pokal, with veteran Max Kruse netting the winner for the East Berlin side. 

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A number of key first-team players started the match however, supporters can expect a few tweaks to this weekends starting line-up.

Last September, Fischer's side started the season on the wrong foot as they fell to defeat against Augsburg. Union lost 3-1 however, this result didn't deter from the rollercoaster league campaign.

Due to current COVID-19 guidelines in Germany, the Stadion An der Alten Försterei will be at 50% capacity for their opening fixture. that means 11,000 supporters will be able to cheer Die Eisernen live.

Form coming into the clash:

In pre-season, Fischer's side have been unbeaten in their last six matches whilst scoring 13 times in the process, quite a good record for the Iron Union as they'll look to extend this run into their third consecutive season in the German top flight.

Whereas Leverkusen have had a stop-start pre-season, having only played twice due to Coronavirus outbreaks. In those two games, the South German side drew 0-0 with SC Freiburg and lost 5-1 to FC Utrecht. Although the Eternal Bridesmaids won their first game in the DFB-Pokal 3-1 against Lokomotiv Leipzig, with Kerem Demirbay bagging a brace and Bellarabi scoring shortly before coming off injured.

However, pre-season form goes out the window as we come into curtain opening clash. The emotion and desire of the players will play a key part this weekend, as every team in the league will look to start the season with a bang. 

The Big Miss:

It goes without mentioning that Bayer Leverkusen will also be without Leon Bailey following his £35,000,000 switch to Premier League side, Aston Villa. The Jamaican winger will be a huge miss for Gerardo Seoane's team.

The 24-year-old scored 15 goals and recorded 11 assists across all competitions for the Eternal Bridesmaids, Leverkusen will be hoping they don't miss their star man this weekend otherwise things could end badly on matchday number one.

Where to watch:

Supporters can tune into Die Eisernen's opening game on the bet365 app due to Sky Sports having not selected the match for live coverage this weekend.

Writers verdict:

It's a tough clash to predict although I feel that Leverkusen will narrowly edge the match, with more experience in the division and the aspirations of achieving a Europa League qualification spot in the league, there's much more on the line for the Eternal Bridesmaids. 

It'll be a tight affair, but I see Leverkusen winning 2-1 at Stadion An der Alten Försterei. However, Die Eisernen have a massive fixture on their hands against Finnish side KUPS in the Europa Conference League at the end of the month.