Leverkusen: Kroos back for Dortmund battle

BERLIN - Bayer Leverkusen's on-loan playmaker Toni Kroos returns from suspension at improving Borussia Dortmund on Saturday knowing a cloud remains over his future.

The 20-year-old has been outstanding this season, steering third-placed Leverkusen within three points of leaders Bayern Munich while also winning his first international cap two weeks ago.

Kroos, banned for last week's win against Hamburg SV, has been the driving force in midfield, scoring nine goals and playing a part in several more as Leverkusen chase an elusive Bundesliga title.

His future though is in doubt, with Bayern declaring he is coming back to them when his loan spell is up at the end of the season and Leverkusen eager to keep him for another year.

"Toni would like to stay with us," Leverkusen sports director Rudi Voller told reporters.

"Whether it is in the form of a loan or whether we buy him that is a minor issue. I will do everything possible so he stays.

"Toni will become even better if he stays here for another year," added the former Germany coach.


Kroos played a key role as Leverkusen went unbeaten until their first league defeat 10 days ago.

A superb 4-2 win, without the playmaker, against Hamburg last week then put the team back on course.

"We showed we are back on track with our win against Hamburg," said striker Eren Derdiyok, who has netted 12 times this season.

"It was good to see we managed to cover well for the absence of Kroos but now we have the tough matches (against Dortmund, Schalke 04 and Bayern) coming up."

Coach Jurgen Klopp's Dortmund have climbed to fourth, scoring seven goals in the last two matches.

Bayern, on 56 points after 26 matches, travel to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday while Schalke, second on 54 points, visit fifth-placed Hamburg on Sunday.

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