Soccer Picks Bayer Leverkusen vs. Schalke

Steven Suarez

Thursday, February 13, 2014 3:54 PM GMT

Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014 3:54 PM GMT

In this battle of top four sides, who will emerge victorious? Leverkusen are the favorites, but it's not going to be easy for them to get the full three points against Schalke.

Odds Overview

When we go through the soccer betting odds, we see Leverkusen at soccer odds of +110 to +115 to win, with Schalke close to +275. A draw is definitely within reason with these two even sides going at it and can be found at +260 or so at the sportsbooks.

Bayer Leverkusen

We're about to see what kind of resolve Leverkusen have. They've had a few days to stew over a shock home loss to Kaiserslautern (a Bundesliga 2 outfit) in the quarter-finals of the DFB Pokal.

Even with the likes of Sidney Sam and Heung-Min Son in the starting XI, Bayer couldn't find their way past Tobias Soppel. After no goals in regulation, Ruben Yttergard Jenssen found the back of the net in extra-time to give the visitors the result of a lifetime.

Sami Hyppia has to get his boys in the right frame of mind after that kind of blow to morale, but his team's performances in the league should give him confidence they can rise to the occasion.

Leverkusen (or any other team in the Bundesliga) may have no shot of catching Bayern Munich, but they're still securely in second place, four points clear of Borussia Dortmund and six up on Schalke.

The BayArena has been a safe haven for Bayer, at least when it comes to league action. They've posted an 8-1-1 record there with 25 goals scored and 11 allowed, so the cup disaster was that much more surprising. Expect a much better showing in front of the home faithful this weekend.

Schalke 04

A five-match unbeaten run, which includes three victories on the trot, has seen the Royal Blues take over the fourth spot in the table.

Evidently the month break for winter came at the perfect time for Schalke. They've won all three matches since returning, overcoming Hamburg (3-0) away and Wolfsburg (2-1) and Hannover (2-0) at home.

All of the damage was done in the first half in the win over Hannover. Jefferson Farfan scored the opener in the 39th minute and Maxmillian Meyer added to the tally just five minutes later. It was smooth sailing for the hosts from there.

The return of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has been a big boost to a side that was already getting goals from a variety of different places.

Farfan leads the team with eight goals, while Kevin-Prince Boateng (six), Adam Szalai (five), and Meyer (five) have also made considerable contributions. We'll have to see if any of these talents can make an impact against a sturdy Leverkusen back-line that's only shipped 20 goals in 20 matches.

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Bundesliga Pick

Both teams have been performing incredibly well in the Bundesliga (and the Champions League) this season and we fully expect a hard-fought 90 minutes of soccer here.

We don't see too much of an edge on either side. Yes, Leverkusen will be at home, where they've only lost once in league play, but Schalke has been winning matches on a consistent basis and will be fancying their chances.

So, with our soccer picks, let's go with a draw in this all-important clash between top four hopefuls, a result which would see both sides be satisfied. A loss would be a killer blow at this juncture in the campaign, so we don't expect adventurous attacking tactics in this match.

Pick: Bayer Leverkusen 1 Schalke 1

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