Bayer Leverkusen will look to return to winning ways in Bundesliga when they face Hertha Berlin on Matchday 23. The BayArena outfit have been having their ups and downs of late, with the team beating Hoffenheim, losing to Mainz, while sharing the spoils with Freiburg.
Xabi Alonso’s troops are eager to climb to the top half of the table, and they are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach in Sunday’s clash. Piero Hincapie is back from suspension, as well as Amine Adli.
The capital club, on the other hand, did well to beat Augsburg 2-0 in front of home fans, but given their six-game losing run on the road, I think that that Xabi Alonso’s troops will get the maximum points. All Marton Dardai, Wilfried Kanga, Chidera Ejuke, and Kelian Nsona miss out with injuries.
Despite their hot favouritism, Leverkusen have won just one of their last five Bundesliga games in a run which has seen them slip into the bottom-half of the table. Their progression in Europe is admirable, but achieving another season on the continent via their league position appears more unlikely by the week.
The hosts have not made such a poor league start to a new calendar year since 2009, a stat which highlights the recent domestic decline of Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen. What is more, they could record a third straight home league defeat for the second time this season and that is something they had never done once in any of the previous eight complete Bundesliga campaigns!
Although Hertha Berlin are fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table, their price for a straight win seems very big for a side that have won two of their last three league games and dragged themselves out of the bottom-three before a ball was kicked this weekend.
Those victories were not exactly flukes either, with a 4-1 win over giant-killing Gladbach and a workmanlike 2-0 win over Augsburg serving to boost the capital club’s confidence. The drawback is their shocking away form, with Hertha losing their last six away games in a row.
Another road defeat would cement Hertha’s worst such run in the top-flight in around five years, but having gone unbeaten in six of their last seven meetings with Leverkusen, I also think that it will end either a win or a draw for the away side. All they need to do is emulate their recent home improvement on the road, yet they may have to settle for a draw.
Inspecting their most recent head-to-head clashes stretching back to 20/06/2020 shows us that Bayer Leverkusen have won 1 of them and Hertha Berlin 2, with the tally of draws being 3. A combined sum of 14 goals were produced between them during those clashes, with 5 of them for Leverkusen and 9 coming from Hertha. That is an average goals per game of 2.33.
The last league clash featuring these sides was Bundesliga 1 match day 6 on 10/09/2022 and the score finished Hertha Berlin 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen. In that match, Hertha Berlin had 41% possession and 17 shots at goal with 6 on target. Goals were scored by Suat Serdar (56') and Marco Richter (74'). Bayer Leverkusen had 11 shots on goal with 5 of them on target. Kerem Demirbay (49') and Patrik Schick (79') scored.
Team News: Bayer Leverkusen
The Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso does not have any fitness concerns to speak of coming into this game with a fully healthy squad available for selection.
I think that Leverkusen look set to kick off with a 3-4-1-2 system for the game, utilising Lukas Hradecky, Edmond Tapsoba, Jonathan Tah, Piero Hincapie, Jeremie Frimpong, Mitchel Bakker, Robert Andrich, Exequiel Palacios, Florian Wirtz, Moussa Diaby and Sardar Azmoun.
Team News: Hertha Berlin
Hertha Berlin boss Sandro Schwarz has to currently contend with reduced team options. Kelian Nsona (Knee Surgery), Wilfried Kanga (Toe Injury), Chidera Ejuke (Knee Injury) and Stevan Jovetic (Muscle Injury) are not ready for selection.
I believe Hertha seem most likely to utilise a 5-3-2 system with a starting lineup of Oliver Christensen, Filip Uremovic, Marc-Oliver Kempf, Marton Dardai, Marco Richter, Marvin Plattenhardt, Lucas Tousart, Tolga Cigerci, Suat Serdar, Dodi Lukebakio and F. Niederlechner.
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