Bayer Leverkusen vs Hertha Berlin
Bayer Leverkusen’s bid to secure a top-four finish in the Bundesliga faces a stern test in the shape of relegation-battling Hertha Berlin at the BayArena.
Bayer Leverkusen’s grip on Champions League qualification has loosened following a run of two wins from their last five Bundesliga matches (D1, L2). With fifth-placed Freiburg now just three points behind, ‘Die Werkself’ need to snap their frustrating five-game winless Bundesliga run against Hertha (D2, L3) to avoid further problems. A 1-0 defeat to Cologne in Bayer’s most recent top-flight outing at the BayArena halted their three-match winning league streak at home, marking only their second scoring blank in 13 such fixtures this season. However, only three Bundesliga sides have netted fewer home league goals than Leverkusen (33) this term. Gerardo Seoane’s men will take the field in high spirits after ending a run of four winless matches across all competitions (D1, L3) by beating Wolfsburg 2-0 on the road last time out.
In the meantime, Hertha’s managerial shift paid dividends immediately, as they cruised to an overwhelming 3-0 win over TSG Hoffenheim in their first post-Tayfun Korkut era. After testing positive ahead of the Hoffenheim game, new manager Felix Magath will make his touchline debut this weekend. Worryingly, though, Magath’s overall managerial record against Leverkusen in the Bundesliga reads negatively (W11, D3, L15), casting doubt on Hertha’s hopes of achieving back-to-back league wins for the first time since October 2021. Indeed, before the abovementioned triumph on the eve of March’s international break, ‘Die Alte Dame’ had gone winless in nine successive Bundesliga games beforehand (D2, L7). In fact, the three points picked up against Hoffenheim excelled Hetha’s tally of two points amassed from their inaugural nine league outings in 2022 combined.