Despite Leverkusen’s recent form struggles, Gerardo Seoane’s Werkself roll into the country’s capital on Sunday as clear favorites to beat Hertha BSC.
Berlin’s “alte Dame”, winners of four and losers of six heading into the match, are dealing with a host of their own problems.
Despite the fact that they will be missing their captain and playing on a battered turf, head-coach Pal Dardai and manager Fredi Bobic believe that their team can beat anyone.
|Fredi Bobic.||Photo: Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0|
News that captain Dedyrck Boyata would be suspended for three games by the DFB following a hard challenge on Hoffenheim’s Angelo Stiller last round wasn’t something sporting CEO Fredi Bobic was prepared to contest.
“We begrudgingly accept it,” Bobic noted when asking if the club planned to file an appeal.
The Hertha administrator had to answer another question about a possible disadvantage too. Namely, the Olympiastadion pitch having been pretty badly torn up during Union Berlin’s Thursday night UEFA Europa Conference League fixture against Feyenoord.
“You could see it on television,” Bobic acknowledged, “The pitch will be playable, maybe a bit more like it was when Pal [head-coach Dardai] and I were playing.”
Quickly realizing that this may not be the most confident statement, Bobic added “It’ll be just fine.”
Hertha have been a team of extremes this season; the only squad left in the Bundesliga besides Dortmund not to draw a match through ten rounds. It’s not a terrible situation for “die alte Dame” in 13th place, but a minus twelve goal differential remains alarming.
“So far everything in training went according to plan,” Dardai said at a Friday presser, “Daily form. Fitness. Concentration. With that we can beat anyone.”
Dardai called the fixture a “very important match”. Indeed, the road gets a little easier for Hertha after this one. Three points could even spark a streak.
“Many people, including myself, like to watch this team [Leverkusen] play football,” Bobic added, “They’ve got a lot of speed and some really good footballers, but I know they’re beatable.”
Final lineups will be posted about an hour before kickoff.
Hoffenheim – Hertha BSC 2-0
|42||Deyovaisio Zeefuik ↩46|
|4||Dedryck Boyata (C)|
|23||Marco Richter ↩69|
|6||Vladimír Darida ↩46|
|9||Krzysztof Piątek ↩61|
|11||Myziane Maolida ↪46 ↩77|
|14||Ishak Belfodil ↪61|
|19||Stevan Jovetić ↪46|
|10||Jurgen Ekkelenkamp ↪69|
|29||Lucas Tousart ↪77|
Leverkusen – Betis 4-0
|1||Lukáš Hradecky (C)|
|30||Jeremie Frimpong ↩88|
|33||Piero Hincapié ↩77|
|19||Moussa Diaby ⚽⚽|
|31||Amine Adli ↩77|
|27||Florian Wirtz ⚽ ↩88|
|3||Panagiotis Retsos ↪88|
|6||Kossonou Odilon ↪88|
|22||Daley Sinkgraven ↪77|
|11||Nadiem Amiri ↪77 ⚽|
|25||Exequiel Palacios ↪68|